August 4th has been dubbed the first, official International #IPA day. Needless to say I'm a little excited. The idea of folks across the globe raising a pint, in celebration of something so near and dear to my heart is just...well...cool. It does bring-up a question or two. Why IPA? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love a great mango-piney-juicy-peach-hits-you-in-the-back-of-the-throat American hop bomb; and the mellow, caramel-dipped, earthy, English versions are down right tasty as well. But again, I ask why IPA? What is it about India Pale Ale that has captured the imagination of so many people across the world? It seems to have a Svengali-like hold over craft beer drinkers unlike any other beer.
I've heard the argument that IPAs are gateway beers—those most likely to be tried first by drinkers new to craft beer. I don't buy it. If I were introducing someone to craft beer—especially someone unfamiliar with beer, in general—IPA would be the last beer I'd pick as an introduction. That's like letting a sixteen-year-old, drive Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4. They might like it, but more than likely, it's just going to scare the shit out of them.
|Do you think it's a bit hopped-up?|
Right now the Lionheart has on four IPAs—Stone, Southern Tier, Victory Hop Devil and Dogfish Head 90-Minute. While I was there, yesterday, I saw one guy buy three of the four in one round—and I was drinking the Victory. So, That seemed to be as good a place as any to ask this simple question—what makes IPA so special? The answer I received from most of the interviewees? A resounding, "I dunno, I just like it." It's a good thing IPA isn't Soylent Green, huh? That wasn't quite the answer I was hoping for, but honestly, I only asked three people, so, you get what you pay for.
So I put it to you, reader(s). Tell me why you think IPA is so beloved. Where do you think the mystique behind this hoppy treat, lies?