Brewmaster Neil Innes and I are making a batch of IPA in my basement. We started fermenting it last week and this week we moved it into the carboy. It should be ready some time in the next few weeks.
Check it out:
The recipe kit we used was
Munton’s Gold IPA
I never really knew the history of the IPA, but it has a good one. From wikipedia:
The East Indies market was a very tempting but difficult one to enter for English brewers. After the British East India Company had established itself in India by the early 1700s, it had a large number of troops and civilians demanding beer. However, the long hot journey proved a difficult one for the dark ales and porters of England. Ships typically left London, cruised south past the equator along the coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and then crossed the Indian Ocean to reach Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras. The temperature fluctuations were huge, it was a very long trip (about 6 months) and the rough waters of southern Africa resulted in an extremely violent voyage.
Despite these obstacles, however, English brewers did try to establish exports to India. Early shipments to India contained bottled porters, the favorite beer in London, which generally arrived flat, musty, and sour. The answer to the great beer problem finally came from a recipe created by George Hodgson at the Bow Brewery in East London. India ale was a variation of his pale ale, which Londoners had been drinking since the mid-1750s. Hodgson began shipping Hodgson’s India Ale during the 1780s. By 1784 advertisements were appearing in the Calcutta Gazette for “light and excellent” pale ale.
Before refrigeration and pasteurization, the brewer’s only weapons against spoilage were alcohol and hops. Alcohol provided an unfriendly environment for microbes and the hops prevented the growth of the bacteria which cause sourness. Therefore high alcohol content and high hopping rates could protect beer from the souring associated with long storage times. Hodgson took his pale ale recipe, increased the hop content considerably, and raised the alcohol content. The result was a very bitter, alcoholic, and sparkling pale ale that could survive the challenges of travel and shelf life in India. IPA reached India in an enjoyable condition and Hodgson’s success became legendary.
The first IPA I ever had was brewed by Neil and I’ve liked them ever since.