Why I had no IPA on #IPADay #BrewedAwakening
I used to drink IPA fairly regularly, when it was just a fringe style, a newish thing, back in the 90s when I lived in Ontario. I’d buy the odd one, which were usually US imports in those days, since Ontario breweries were amongst the last in North America to adopt hoppy, West Coast style IPA as an accepted style. At the time it felt kind of edgy to drink a beer that was higher alcohol and out of balance to the bitter side, and so hop forward on the nose and palate. I didn’t drink it by the pint at my local pub, but I’d buy bottles for home consumption.
Nova Scotia, where I grew up, is a province whose breweries were even slower to adopt IPA as a style. I firmly remember me and my brother Jeff trying to convince John Allen at Propeller that they should brew an IPA, but they didn’t think the market would accept it. Years later they did brew it, and it quickly became one of their most popular beers. In this current world of DIPA, Belgian IPA, “Black IPA” and other variations on the style, I now regret lobbying him about it back then…
Why? Well, because I feel IPA is not a beer style that should be an everyday beer. These days IPA is the starter beer for many beer newbies, and I have a problem with that. It is too bitter and strong to be drunk by the pint. I love it when it is done well, but it is more suitable as a sipping beer, an occasional sample.
In 2018, many of the people who are learning about flavourful beer drink IPA first, skipping over pils, bitter/pale ale and other delicious “everyday” beers, and become hopheads, without actually learning about the core beers that the industry was built on. Sure, there is a trend towards Session IPAs because people have realized that 6.5% alcohol is not the best for responsible pint drinking, but SIPA is an even more unbalanced style.
The biggest reason that I didn’t drink IPA today is that I didn’t have any in the house, because I rarely drink it anymore. If I had gone out to lunch, I probably would have had a sample or half pint of a local IPA, but I stayed home. What I did drink, though, was a delicious bottle of Propeller’s ESB, a well balanced but still bitter ale, and their original flagship beer.
I’d choose it over their IPA any day, including on #IPADay.