If you are ever in Picton, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, take a two-minute walk along the foreshore from the Cook Strait Ferry terminal to Dunbar Wharf, and marvel at a unique survival: the Edwin Fox, last remaining wooden sailing ship to have carried India Pale Ale from London to the thirsty… Read More When 200,000 pints of beer went overboard to save a ship
The “IPA shipwreck” is one of many long-lasting myths in the history of India Pale Ale. The story says that IPA became popular in Britain after a ship on its way to India in the 1820s was wrecked in the Irish Sea, and some hogsheads of beer it was carrying out east were salvaged and… Read More The IPA shipwreck and the Night of the Big Wind
Why oh why am I still having to write lengthy corrections to articles about the history of India Pale Ale? Well, apparently because the Smithsonian magazine, the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution, is happy to print articles about the history of India Pale Ale without anybody doing any kind of fact-checking – and… Read More In which I give more badly written beer history a good kicking
Hard luck, haters: Greene King knows you don’t like its IPA, you think it’s too bland, “not a real IPA” at 3.6% abv, and it doesn’t care at all. Not the tiniest drop. In fact it’s probably quite pleased you don’t like it. You’re not its target market – it’s after a vastly larger constituency.… Read More Why Greene King doesn’t care that the haters hate its IPA
IPA in India in the 19th century was drunk ice-cold There are several references to “light bitter beer” being drunk “cold as ice could make it, the most refreshing of all drinks in this climate” in the journals and letters of expats in India from the 1820s to the 1850s. The earliest use of the… Read More Five facts you may not have known about India Pale Ale for #IPAday
There are stupid marketeers, and there’s AB-InBev. The Belgo-Brazilians have decided to rename one of the oldest beer brands in Britain, Bass pale ale, a literally iconic IPA, as “Bass Trademark Number One”. It’s a move so clueless, so lacking in understanding of how beer drinkers relate to the beers they drink, I have no… Read More The Bass red triangle: things AB-InBev won’t tell you
“All the IBUs, half the ABV” is how the American beer writer Brian Yaeger describes the newest (?) beery trend in the United States: the “India Session Ale”. As you’ll have gathered, the ISA is meant to have the flavours of an American-style IPA, but at a more “sessionable” gravity. “Sessionable” is in the eye… Read More India Session Ales – tremendous new trend or oxymoronic category fail?
How long have British brewers been using American hops? Far, far longer than you might have guessed: for around two centuries, in fact. The earliest evidence I’ve collected so far of hops from the United States in England is from exactly 196 years ago: May 1817, when the Liverpool Mercury newspaper carried a notice of… Read More How long have English brewers been using American hops? Much longer than you think
The continuing fantastic expansion in the number of old documents scanned, OCR’d and available on the internet is presenting the lucky historical searcher with constant opportunities to push back the boundaries. The latest terrific find is an ante-dating of the first use of the expression “India pale ale” by almost six years, taking it from… Read More The earliest use of the term India pale ale was … in Australia?
Some British beer bloggers get invited to be judges at the Great American Beer Festival. Well, poot to them: I’ve just had a much more exclusive gig. Only 12 people are invited to judge in the Hong Kong International Beer Awards, and this year I was one of them. If you’re thinking: “Yeah, man, tough… Read More Thirty-nine lagers in 40 minutes