IPA Flight at a Bar Festival Wine and Spirits

What is an IPA?

The popularity of craft beers has been on the rise for many years now. In the mix, there has been a growth of India Pale Ales (IPAs) available on the market. You may have seen them, you might even be a huge fan but do you know what IPA really means? Learn more about the history, flavor profile, variety and more below.


IPAs have a fascinating and often debated history that began over 175 years ago, in England. The most commonly told story is that Bow Brewery was producing beer for The East India Trade Company, who supplied brew for Brittish troops stationed in India. Much of what was first brewed was volatile and spoiled before reaching its destination. According to IPABeer.com, “Hops comprise of two major acids providing a preservative in addition to taste bitterness. The combination of a high hopping rate and high alcohol content allowed for this new style of beer to survive the long journey and not kill anyone who drank it once it got there.” So this brew, over time became known as India Ale. The ‘Pale’ came later when competition entered the market for this delicious beer.

Flavor Profile

When they were first created, IPAs were know for their “very peculiar fine flavor”. They have complex flavors. It tends to be an acquired taste, as it highlights the complexity of the hops. The more traditional English varieties provide lighter and drier malt profiles, with touches of earthy, hay-like, grassy, and woody hop flavors. Newer varieties can be described as having a milder malt character and intensely flavorful hops. It can result in a brew that features hop-driven notes of citrus, resin, and tropical fruit. IPAs are measured in International Bitterness Units (IBU), which is an actual mathematical equation. Therefore, it is safe to say, no two IPAs are quite the same.


While the flavor profiles might have infinite possibilities, there are three main styles of IPA including American, English, and Double or Imperial. These are all consistently brewed, and are what would be officially presented at major beer competitions. Hybrid styles are gaining popularity including Wheat IPA and Belgian White IPA. Maybe this is why it is gaining is popularity – it is just fun to try. Come into Festival and we can make suggestions for you to take home or to the next party.

Alcohol By Volume

Alcohol by volume is just the portion of the total volume of liquid that is alcohol. IPA’s typically contain a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) than average brews. This is a natural occurrence during the brewing process, and many claim this an attractive feature. The average range is between 5.5 to 7.5 percent, but can reach upwards to 11 percent. To put into perspective, Bud Light has a 4.20% ABV and Boh’s have 4.28% ABV.

This holiday season why not try something new? If you have any questions about a great tasting IPA, ask the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Festival Wine and Spirits. Pick up a six pack to enjoy while watching Thanksgiving Football or to give as a holiday gift.