Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

SudSisters: IPAs become the darling of the craft brew world

March 26, 2014 Updated: March 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm
0
photo - Stephanie Earls photographed Wednesday, September 4, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Stephanie Earls photographed Wednesday, September 4, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

I've got a thing for IPAs, and I'm not alone.

At the handful of establishments I visited over the extended St. Patrick's Day weekend, IPA selections uncharacteristically were limited and two bars were (gasp!) completely out. Seems like not long ago, the odds of finding a place with one draft IPA weren't good. These days, bars are having trouble keeping up with demand.

"Five years ago, not nearly as many people drank IPAs as they do now," said Jon Stringer, a beer specialist with Old Chicago restaurants. "Now, people have really developed a taste for hoppy beers."

Old Chicago is hosting a Stone IPA Takeover, with four of the Escondido, Calif., beers available on draft. The regional restaurant and taproom chain, which has four Colorado Springs locations, regularly holds such brewery tap "takeovers" but rarely with four of the same style of beer.

"This is the perfect time to talk IPAs," Stringer said.

Considering the growing popularity - India Pale Ales are the best-selling of all craft brew styles - the restaurant wanted to showcase the great variety available within the IPA family.

With tastes that range from light and floral to heavy and almost meaty, IPAs are basically pale ales made with additional hops, which increase the (good kind of) bitterness; that and the brewing process also traditionally lead to higher alcohol content, which might be one reason for the style's growing appeal, Stringer said.

According to a popular - and likely inaccurate - origin story, 18th century brewers in England began adding extra hops to their India-bound pale ales so the beer would be sure to survive the long sea voyage. What's known for certain is the highly hopped style that emerged during the British colonial era was a new and more aggressive twist on English pale ale, and people liked it.

Fast forward to today, when the darling of the craft brew world is available in a rainbow of varieties and hybrids.

"There's white, black, red. There are so many kinds out there now. People have gotten very creative with them because they're so popular," Stringer said.

With IPAs, it's all about the hops - the source of the "bitter" flavor for which the style is known. Bitterness ranges from American-style IPAs, at the mild end, to English to Imperial, or double, IPAs, which can boast alcohol content approaching double digits.

Be not afeard, lighter-weights. If you crave the personality but not the potency, Stone's "Go To" IPA fits the flavor bill but rings in at a comparatively low 4.5 percent ABV.

"It's a session IPA, which means you can sit and drink a few and it's not going to knock you down," Stringer said.

For around $5, Old Chicago offers the tasting flight of all four IPA varieties (Go To IPA, Stone IPA, Stone Cali-Belgique and Stone Enjoy By 4-20-14 IPA) , along with a guide to the basics about each.

For newbies, it's a great introduction to the style; for the rest of us, it's great drinking.

-

If you have beer-related news or story ideas, email sudsisters@gazette.com.

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.