Thursday, August 4, 2011

International IPA Day - What is It?

For those of you who love beer enough to follow Tweeters who love beer too … and Tweet about nothing BUT beer (such as me), you already know today is IPA Day. Where did this “day” come from? What is the insane obsession with IPAs? What the hell is an IPA?

Don't worry; calm down. I'm hear to explain all of the above.

First of all, shockingly enough, this is International IPA Day. What? You mean there are those who live outside of the U.S.? People exist and drink beer in other countries? Yes, Americans, they do. Tie up your tennis shoes and pull down your belly-showin' tank-top while in France, please. Basically, it's just like every other day for us boozers, but today we have a goal.

Let's start with those who have no idea what an IPA is. Don't feel bad; how could you know? It's three simple letters scrunched together (usually with a # in front of it), so what's the big deal?

Here's the big deal: IPA stands for Inda Pale Ale. No, that's not a euphemism for an Indian who's so drunk he's turned pale. It's a type of beer. Actually, it's a “style” of beer. Basically, back in the olden days (around the 17the century), beer that was brewed with a pale malt was called a “pale ale.” A fairly good amount of hops were put in these beers to keep them from spoiling on the long trip over to India, and when East India Company started taking them to India, India Pale Ale just stuck. Let's not get into specifically why the British were sending beer to India, but let's just say the British were like “and what? And what?” to Indians. This was around the 1830s that IPA earned it's infamous name.

Nowadays, IPA is a pretty standard beer. However, an American IPA isn't the same as a British IPA. How dare you even assume that! IPAs in the U.K. are usually regular session beers, meaning standard, low-alcohol ales (yet no less delicious).

IPAs in the U.S. are brewed with what we've decided are our standard hops, either mixed up together or with a single hop. They're generally of the same standard variety, such as the classic Cascade, Centennial, and Nugget, to name a few.

Now we're getting into the nitty gritty of the IPA. Here you have your standard British and American IPAs, but what happens when you throw a darker malt in the mix yet use the same hop variety? You get what's called an American-style black IPA.

What do you get when you brew an IPA that has a really high alcohol content (above 7%) and throw some seriously hoppy hops in there, including some dry-hopped variations of brew? (Dry-hopped beer is when you place a hop bag full of dry, uncooked hops into the beer while it's fermenting or after it's done fermenting, in order to bring out some serious hoppy aromas.) You get a beer called a double IPA. And let me tell you, that is some goooooooood beer. Ever heard of Pliny the Elder? No? Go get one – stat! I believe it is the finest double IPA ever created, and a lot of people will agree with me on that one. It's brewed by Russian River Brewing Co. and it needs to be on your beer-bucket list and in your mouf right this second.

Now that we know what an IPA is, what is International IPA Day? Actually, it's technically #IPADay. Well, today was the very first IPA Day. Yep, the very first! This is a day you drink your daily bread on Earth as it is in heaven … with a Sierra Nevada or Dogfish Head IPA.

According to (I refuse to pretend I actually know who started this, so NBC gets the blame if I'm wrong!), the day was officially started by @TheBeerWench (Ashley V. Routson), and Ryan A. Ross, the guy who started Chardonnay and Cabernet Day (brilliant, by the way). Basically, the IPA is pretty much the most widely available beer in America, and kind of a standard as far as our craft-beer scene goes, so why not create a day for it?

I don't know what the original idea behind it was, but I'm going to take a wild guess and assume it's to introduce friends and neighbors to really good craft beer, regardless of what country it originated in. That is reason enough.

What am I drinking on International IPA Day? A Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen. I'm cheap and won't buy more beer if I already have some. And what?! And what?!

Image courtesy of “Lupulin Libations” @


  1. Your voice is really coming along! Good Stuff!

  2. and...I'm not drinking an I.P.A. today either. Ah, shit. Yes, I am.

  3. Dang, even I didn't drink an IPA today.

  4. I thought IPA stood for "International Peaches Appreciation" day. Am I wrong?

  5. Mine was more of a "when in Ralph's day", not an I.P.A., all the way, day...keep it up, yo.

  6. @Peachy Pie: It was International Peaches Day for you and I. The rest of the world can just go on with their so-called IPA Day!