IPA stands for Indian Pale Ale, which got its name from its links with colonial India. It is one of the most famous craft beers in the world which came into being in the 1700s when India was still a British colony.

Back then, British masters found it taxing to brew beer in India due to its humid climatic condition. As a result, they resorted to shipping ale and hops, the key bittering agent of the drink, to India and whipping up some brews so strong that the lack of refrigeration didn't take a toll on their quality.

The British had one sole motive in brewing the IPA -- they did not want the beer to spoil during their six-month stay in India. What was initially shipped to India was a heavily-hopped version called October ale. With time, the color of the beer got paler, giving it a new name -- Indian Pale Ale.

IPA is a beer that is strong through and through, no wonder many people steer clear of it due to its extremely bitter taste. On the other hand, there are those who simply can't have enough of it.

For lovers of IPA, there's a special occasion they should never miss. It's called National IPA Day, and it is observed on the first Thursday of August every year to celebrate this beer and its rich history.

The following are some amazing facts about this beer, perfect for this year's National IPA Day. (Courtesy: Mental Floss)

  • IPA was made popular by the East India Trading Company- The introduction of IPA is credited to George Hodgson of London's Bow Brewery in 1793. The Bow Brewery owned by Hodgson was located close to where the company's India trading ships docked. Hodgson started selling the company's employees casks on an 18-month credit which meant they didn't have to pay for them until their return. Hodgson gradually broke ties with the company and began to ship the beer himself.
  • Early IPAs weren't strong- The earliest-ever made IPAs contained 6.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), which was the same or slightly lower than what the typical beer has.
  • There's no clear indication of who invented first IPA- It's still a debatable topic as to who invented the IPA first. Many still claim that IPA was the brainchild of Hodgson, but what he basically did was, make a lighter ale stronger by adding more hops in it.
  • Contemporary IPAs originated during craft beer movement- England's IPA craze slumped by the 1900s and people started to turn to new beer styles entering the market. It was only when the craft beer movement started in the U.S. that the craft brewers began using American-style hops in beer to give rise to contemporary IPAs.
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