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IPA by Uiltje Craft Beer
Welcome to Uiltje Craft Beer's great IPA section. Here you'll find all our hop-forward IPAs. Every single one is brewed with a unique selection of (mostly) North-American hops. These IPAs are all distinctively unique and ready to be shipped towards you!
The history of IPA
Here at Uiltje Craft Beer, brewing IPAs is our specialty. We love IPA and we love adding our own twists and turns to it, so an ordinary IPA, really becomes something special. The beer style IPA is quite popular as we know it, but there is an enticingly rich history when it comes to this amazing hoppy beer we all know and love today!
The initials, IPA, are an abbreviation of the term; India Pale Ale. The term IPA’s origins, go all the way back to the 18th and 19th centuries. India Pale Ale was the solution to an ever growing demand for proper refreshment for the British legions in the West Indies. The British empire had troops, emigrants and sailors stationed all over the world. India used to be one of the most vital outposts due to its climate, and it’s herbs, not to mention its strategic position. Yes, there were many advantages of an outpost in India, yet there was one terrible, terrible disadvantage that the Brits probably didn’t take into account when they first decided to settle in India.
The Origins of the IPA style
The British Indian army was completely parched. Their khaki uniforms soaking up their sweat while they worked all day under the searing Indian sun. Needles to say, they craved for some proper refreshment. Unfortunately, the English soon realized that the climate in India made the brewing of a nice ale impossible. A rotten bit of luck, as a refrigerator wouldn’t be invented for another couple of centuries, which means that the only beers that could be imported were mainly lukewarm, dark, strong beers.
The first Brits that settled down in India, were confronted by the only beer fit for import; Heavy, lukewarm, Porters. A popular choice among Londoners back in the day in order to warm yourself up on a chilly day. A purpose that the tropics welcomed with redundancy, by virtue of the unbearable temperatures.
Most of these Porters were brewed by a company called George Hodgson’s brewery, a couple of miles up the river Lea from the former East India Trading Company’s headquarters in east London. Issued by the government, these Porters were produced by George Hodgson’s, put into heavy, lumber casks, and brought aboard of merchant ships that were outward bound.
The ships carrying the government Porters set sail and began their perilous journey, which averagely took about 6 months, crossing the equator twice. The ships that carried the casks were called East Indiaman. Within these 1000-tonne ships, the circumstances were dire. The hold was a hellish, smelly deck, hazy with heat and full of old sailor’s diseases. With every other wave the ships traversed, the barrels would roll over and occasionally break free from their bounds. As you might expect, the beers usually did not fare too well during these trips. It usually arrived infected, stale, and sometimes not at all, on account of broken barrels, or thirsty sailors.
Hodgson’s solution: the India Pale Ale
The East India regiment became all the more frustrated with the poor quality Hodgson’s provided as days passed. Even if the Porters arrived, and wouldn’t kill anyone when being drunk, the dark, heavy beer was not appreciated by the regiment, regarding the circumstances. Hodgson, being as frustrated as his consumers, was making attempt after attempt, yet, nothing worked.
Eventually Hodgson offered another one of his craft beers called “October beer”. Normally this type of beer would age in barrels, to eventually become barley wine after a number of years. This process was commonly done amongst the rich when a son was born. Usually the beer was barreled on the day a son was born, and then drunk on the day the son celebrated his 18th birthday. In order to keep them tasting fresh, the barrels were packed with loads of hops, sometimes using up to 10 pounds a barrel.
Despite being convinced that this last attempt might also be to no avail, Hodgson decided to ship over a number of barrels his version of “October beer” nonetheless. He made this pale ale strong and chock full of hops, which are a natural preservative, much like the tannins in wine. Its strength and savor made sure the ale survived the voyage to India without getting infected or stale. The hops also worked as an ideal counterpart for the sweetness of the malts used for this ale, which made it quite enjoyable as a matter of fact.
On a January day in the year 1822, the first East Indiaman carrying Hodgson’s famous prime picked, special pale ale of genuine October brewing. Superior to any ale that ever reached the far indies, this pale ale was a huge success, which would later be known as India Pale Ale. The British settlers had been longing for such a beer for years! A bright and strong ale, full of hops. A real taste of home, and a boost of antibiotics for infamous illnesses like scurvy as well!
Modern IPAs as we know it
After the prime of the British empire, the IPA’s course changed. During the latter half of the 19th century, the IPA was also introduced to its rightful place, in the English pubs. The IPA also became widely known abroad as the Brits also started exporting these India Pale Ales to the United States. Yet, in Europe, lagers started to take over. Along with the Prohibition in, all brewing was wiped out in the USA, and IPA’s became less and less and less popular until eventually, a shadow of the past.
After a long time living in the dark, a couple of North-American breweries rekindled IPA in the 1970’s. Using American ingredients, mainly hops, were a revelation as most people living in that era, never tasted India Pale Ale before. New Albion Brewing was the first to venture into this long forgotten area. Even though their adventure only lasted for some years, they pushed the United States into a brewing revolution.
Over time, more and more American breweries started to follow and brew beers with all the hops they could gather. Along the way, the breweries became more experienced and they started experimenting with all kinds of flavors, hops and even fruits. A huge variety of different IPAs became available for the public throughout the 1980’s. Bearing in mind that 50 years earlier the American beer market simply ceased to exist overnight, the American beer industry basically had a fresh start. There were absolutely no boundaries, nor were there traditionalists to listen to.
Regardless of the fact that the Lagers were extremely popular in Europe at this time, the Hoppy beer style had completely taken over in America. The United States, mainly in the Pacific northwest, grows a greater variety of hops than anywhere else in the world. There are endless combinations to make and different flavors to explore with these American hops. Some are soft and citrusy, whereas others are rough and dry, and sometimes even fruity.
Buying IPA online
After this “American beer revolution”, IPA’s former glory was reinstated, along with many newfound and diverse flavors. Now to skip ahead a couple of decades, to the present, IPAs are immensely popular around the world. Not just the ones made in America, but also a lot of Dutch and British IPAs. It has become very easy to get your hands on a fair IPA, now that the internet plays a role. You can order IPA online and have it delivered within a blink of an eye.
The Dutch beer market, in contrast to the Belgian or German beer market, is experimenting a lot with different ingredients, without having to answer to traditionalists. There are many Dutch craft breweries that make delicious IPAs. Right here at Uiltje Brewing, we pay a tribute to the reinstatement of IPA by using only the best hops. Most of them actually grow in the pacific northwest! Many of our India Pale Ales are chock full of hops, and sometimes even multiple types. This makes our IPAs extremely hoppy and bursting with unique flavors. You can now easily order IPA online right at our website. Order your IPA online, and we’ll ship it to your address, so you can sit back, relax, and think of the amazing history of India Pale Ale! Order your IPA online, and do not hesitate to ask us anything about our beers via our contact form. Cheers!