Interest piqued: I dislike IPAs. Why are they so hoppy?
Anyone who’s had an IPA probably has read something on the label about how the beer was brewed with more hops and a higher alcohol content so it would last the 4 month journey from England to India during the imperialist days.
But wait – any old beer would last four months and be perfectly drinkable. As for when they arrived in India, was there a reason they couldn’t just brew beer in India?
There was a reason! It was called capitalism!
One George Hodgson was the owner of George Hodgon’s Bow Brewery, which is often credited with the “invention” of IPA. Pale ales were popular well before him. Hodgson just happened to own a brewery right by where the ships were leaving for India. And captains were allowed to take a certain amount of their own person good for transport. Through these lucky chances, Hodgson was able to account for about half of the beer market in India at the time.
Here’s a fun little rhyme about IPA:
Jupiter and the Indian Ale
from the 1864 ‘Book of Ballads‘
“Take away this clammy nectar !”
Said the king of gods and men;
“Never at Olympus’ table
Let that trash be served again.
Ho, Lyaeus, thou, the beery !
Quick-invent some other drink;
Or, in a brace of shakes, thou standest
On Cocytus’ sulphury brink!”
Terror shook the limbs of Bacchus,
Paly grew his pimpled nose,
And already in his rearward
Felt he Jove’s tremendous toes;
When a bright idea struck him-
“Dash my thyrsus ! I ‘ll be bail-
For you never were in India-
That you know not HODGSON’S ALE !”
“Bring it!” quoth the Cloud-compeller;
And the wine-god brought the beer-
“Port and Claret are like water
To the noble stuff that’s here!”
And Saturnius drank and nodded,
“Winking with his lightning eyes;
And amidst the constellations
Did the star of HODGSON rise!