What is an IPA?

What is an IPA?

Brewery Founded by 4th Generation Hop Farmers Shares Their Take on the Style

It's National IPA Day, and we want to use this opportunity to celebrate our favorite beer style, one that we’re known for here at Bale Breaker. Here’s a little IPA history lesson from the folks in Hop Country, in the Yakima Valley in central Washington State, where we grow about 75% of the nation’s hops.

If you are new to IPAs, the name is technically an acronym for the phrase India Pale Ale. The style originated in England – and legend has it the IPA was created after English brewers increased the strength of beers with extra hops and malt to make the trip around Africa while British ships made their way to colonized India. We’ve got news for you: this is a myth, and the style had more of a gradual birth from English brewers as early as the 17th century. IPAs continue to diversify to this day, and there are so many different types among the style that we urge you not to write off IPAs entirely.

Bitter is not necessarily synonymous with IPA by any means, so get out there and try some new ones, like our Mango IPA if you’re looking for extra fruit flavors, or our Hop Country Session IPA if you’re hoping for lower alcohol content but a more flavorful option than other summer drinks out there.

Our IPA Philosophy

We like them crisp and dry, with hardly any malt to distract you from their big hop aroma. Simcoe in the kettle for smooth bitterness and Warrior for when we want a more aggressive hop bite (like in Bottomcutter, our crisp, hop-forward Imperial IPA). Not much caramel malt, since it doesn't age well. A little bit of white wheat for body. And the best hops we can find, in abundance, grown right here on our family farm in the Yakima Valley. 

As fourth generation hop farmers, who grew up with the smell of citrusy, herbal, floral hops, we wanted our beers to showcase hop aroma, not just hop bitterness. We set up our brewery to maximize hop aroma, using tools like our whirlpool and hop back and techniques like dry hopping to keep those delicate hop aromas in the beer. 

Soon, other breweries were following our lead, making heavily dry-hopped pale ales like our Field 41 Pale Ale (you can call it a Session IPA…sometimes we do) and crisp, citrusy and pine IPAs like our flagship Topcutter IPA. The good news is that we don’t see the IPA train slowing down any time soon, so you’ll get to enjoy the fruity, floral, and herbal flavors that come from hops for years to come. Cheers!

Posted August 01, 2019

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