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Monday, July 31, 2017

Lupulin Love: Cheers to IPA Day!


And, the category is: Fermented Beverages. Answers:

Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Amarillo, Columbus, Simcoe. 


Citrus, Piney, Grassy, Floral, Fruity, Tropical, Woodsy, Dank, Resiny.


American. New England. West Coast, East Coast, Midwest. English. 


Double, Imperial, Session, Black, Red, or just "plain" ol'. 

From Palate Wrecker to Heady Topper to Sculpin to EnjoyBy. 


Pliny the Elder to Two-Hearted to Florida Man. 


The questions: What are hops? What's an IPA? Cue the game show music!


IPA Day is August 3.



Dissecting the hop cone.
(Drawing from Stan Hieronymous,
For the Love of Hops)
Thirst for the hoppy flavors produced by the lupulin glands of the humulus lupulus cones has grown steadily since the 1980's. Seemingly, there's no apparent boundary, other than creativity of brewers, when it comes to ingredients and willingness to stretch the limits of the IBU (International Bitterness Units) scale (there's a "general" threshold of 100 IBUs?). While hops are usually found in the US in the Pacific Northwest, there's even research and development about producing them in Florida. Hops, which grow on bines (no typo, with a "b"), are quite versatile. Not only do they serve as preservatives and anti-microbial agents, they provide aroma and bittering flavors in beer, depending on the alpha and beta acid content. In addition, they also have medicinal qualities and produce a "soporific" or sedative, relaxing effect. So, there's something to be said for relaxing with a beer! And, yes, Humulus is part of the Cannabaceae family, which includes Cannabis (that's all there is to say about that here). 

A little history. The IPA (India Pale Ale) actually has its origins in Britain, and it didn't start out with that style name. In the late 1700's and early 1800's, on the heels of the spice and textile trade in India, British exporters sought to send pale ale to nationals and troops there. So that the ale could be preserved and retain its flavor during the lengthy five-to-six-month boat voyage from Britain to India, brewers added extra doses of hops to the ale. In the early 1800's, one of the local British brewers, Hodgson, formulated his beer specifically with this extra-bittering effect in mind after reading reviews and feedback from the India customers. As British subjects then returned from India, Hodgson sold his beer in Britain, and in the 1830's the name "India Pale Ale" was used to describe the style. (While Hodgson is largely credited with the creation of the IPA, there is some debate on that point; it could be said that he marketed it.) Although the popularity of the style subsequently declined, the craft beer revolution of the 1980's revived the IPA, with hopheads everywhere rejoicing ever since. 



Stylistically, IPAs are distinguished by particular category (see, 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines). Take the English IPAs and American IPAs. The flavor of the English variety tends to be more on the spicy, or even woodsy, side, from the English hops (it's OK to say "Fuggle"), with IBUs in the range of 40-60 and ABV at 5-7.5%. The American versions tend to take it a step beyond, coming in at around 40-70 IBUs, and 5.5-7.5% ABV, with aromas and flavors decidedly hoppy and bitter - even intense. The American hops generally yield flavors of citrus, floral, pine, spicy, tropical, fruity. And, let's not stop there, because the BJCP Style Guidelines further categorize Specialty IPAs: Belgian IPA, Black IPA, Brown IPA, Red IPA, Rye IPA, and White IPA. Each of these has specific nuances and profiles deriving from the ingredients used during brewing. But, we can take this IPA journey even further, as in Double (Imperial) IPA, the big boys of IPA, weighing in at 60-120 IBUs and 7.5-10% ABV. Yes, there are even such things as Triple IPAs. If these IPAs are a bit too heavy or strong, you'll find the increasingly popular "Session" IPAs on the other side of the scale, with an ABV of between 3-5% (named because they're designed for consuming more than one in a "session").

No matter which style of IPA your taste buds crave, there's no denying that the IPA has soared in popularity. According to the Great American Beer Festival, for the past seven years, the American Style IPA has been the category with the highest number of entries in the renowned competition. In 2016, there were 312 entries, just short of 2015's whopping 336 entries (not including the DIPAs). 


Whether you're partial to those big, bold West Coast-style IPAs, or you're jumping on the New England fruity hazy craze that's all the rage, prefer one a bit less intense, would rather go all-out for one of those Imperials, zero in on the flavors of the Specialty types, or get dark and roasty with one of my personal favorites: the Black IPA, there's at least one IPA for you. 




that says Chocolate and Coffee



And, the things you'll find in those IPAs:

Grapefruit never thought it would become quite so bitterly fashionable as its popular sister citrus, orange. Speaking of orange, the Blood Orange has become a darling of the IPA crowd. How about pineapple or mango? Even coffee, generally reserved for stout, gets into the act.  




Looking for a few IPAs around Florida? Hopheads are likely familiar with a number of these notables (and, yeah, I've had each one), which is by no means an exhaustive list:




Cigar City Brewing (Tampa):  Jai Alai, Florida Man (DIPA)
Funky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park): Hop Gun, Hop Stimulator (DIPA)
Coppertail Brewing (Tampa): Free Dive; try the new Powder or Kiko Santiago, also
Saltwater Brewery (Delray Beach): Screamin' Reels
Due South Brewing (Boynton Beach): Category 3, Category 5
Barley Mow Brewing (Largo): Quackalope
Civil Society Brewing (Jupiter): Pulp, Fresh (real hop bombs)


Copperpoint Brewing (Boynton Beach): One Love IPA, A-10 Red IPA
Tampa Bay Brewing Company (Tampa): Old Elephant Foot
Pair O' Dice Brewing (Clearwater): Hop Bet Red IPA
Motorworks Brewing (Bradenton): Indy
Big Storm Brewery (Tampa area): Arcus
Two Henrys Brewing (Plant City): 7 Mile Bridge
Brew Bus Brewing (Tampa): Last Stop
Green Bench Brewing (St. Pete): IPA, Sunshine City IPA
3 Daughters Brewing (St. Pete): Bimini Twist
Swamp Head Brewery (Gainesville): Big Nose, Darkwater
First Magnitude Brewing (Gainesville): Ursa
Florida Beer Company (Port Canaveral): Swamp Ape (DIPA)
New Smyrna Beach Brewing (New Smyrna Beach): Shark Attack
Playalinda Brewing (Titusville): Bring It (DIPA), Pleasure Chest
Tomoka Brewing Company (Port Orange): Oceanside White
Persimmon Hollow Brewing (DeLand): Beach Hippie
Proof Brewing (Tallahassee): LaLa Land
GrassLands Brewing (Tallahassee): Hopline Bling
Walking Tree Brewery (Vero Beach): White Walking Tree
Orchid Island Brewery (Vero Beach): Star Ruby, Jungle Trail Black IPA
MIA Beer Co. (Miami): Neon
26 Degree Brewing (Pompano Beach): IPA1A
Bugnutty Brewing (Merritt Island): Zeus Will Smite Thee, Dark Matter
Hell 'n Blazes Brewing (Melbourne): Causeway IPA
Beachside Brew Pub (Ormond Beach): Citrus League IPA, Lunatic Fringe Red Rye IPA
Central 28 (DeBary): Show Pigeon
Red Cypress Brewery (Winter Springs/Orlando): Devil's Chair
Ten 10 Brewing (Orlando): East West
Darwin Brewing (Bradenton): Summadayze

Can you say ..... Beertrip!


And, coming in around Jacksonville:


Intuition Ale Works: I-10, Easy on the Eyes
Bold City Brewery: Mad Manatee
Engine 15  Brewing: Old Battle Axe, Double Drop
Aardwolf Brewing: Nonchalant, Hop Oddity, Stormageddon
Green Room Brewing: Head High, Double Overhead, Beer Storm Series
Pinglehead Brewing: Black hOPs
Veterans United Craft Brewery: Hop Banshee
Zeta Brewing: American Garage
Wicked Barley: Eradicator
Southern Swells: Karate in the Garage
Atlantic Beach Brewing: Duality, Two-Minute
Old Coast Ales: Empirical
Bog Brewing: IPA




There are more variations, treatments, special one-offs and flavors -- you name it, it's probably out there.


Get ready for some serious hops on August 3. In case you're badge hunting on that omnipresent cyber beer tool known as Untappd, there's a badge for that!


Happy hopping, Hopheads!


Happy IPA Day!








Cheers! 
Til next time,




Linda








Linda Johnson, 
Certified Cicerone®

(photos by Linda Johnson)



Sources:  Oliver, Garrett: The Oxford Companion to Beer; Mosher, Randy: Tasting Beer; Hieronymous, Stan: For the Love of Hops; Wikipedia


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