Fortunately or unfortunately you can go almost anywhere and snag and India Pale Ale, but what does that really mean? We all know the story or some version where the standard gravity and hopped beer was amped up to survive the voyage from England to India and hence the name, but today we generally think of a pale ale with a higher use of hops creating enhanced bitterness or hop flavor/aroma. Here’s the unfortunate part, there are no standards for breweries so they can call any beer anything they please. Take the recently released Guinness Nitro Stout, it only pretends to be an IPA. Today you run into session IPA, White IPA, Red IPA, etc. and can only guess the beer will have enhanced hop character in bitterness, flavor, aroma, or a combination of those characteristics. I recently heard someone say they were drawn to IPA and while that is a blessing it may also be a curse because the sky is currently the limit on flavors and aromas due to the myriad of hops available and the style is really only limited by the imagination of the brewer. So get out there and have an IPA and if the first one isn’t your cup of tea try another, with so much variability you are bound to find one you will love!

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