This is the follow up from my previous post were I quickly mentioned about this type of ale. The reason I’m starting off with IPA is because Thornbridge Brewery’s Jaipur is one of the highest rating IPA's in the UK at this time. Having won in the past year: a bronze in the international beer challenge 2011, 3 gold stars in the great taste awards, Devises beer of the festival, Brewing industry international champion keg ale, SIBA (Society for Independent Brewers) bronze award, Brewing industry international awards golden medal keg ale and finally SIBA gold medal award.
All this for one beer, would be what some brewers would hope for in 5 years for their range, not just for one beer they produce. The surprises don’t stop there however, these awards are only what this beer has won in the past year up to January and there's plenty of time for more to come.
Jaipur as I mentioned before is a place in India which is very fitting as this ale was originally meant for transport there, however not meant for Indians specifically. This is a heavily condensed version of the story and if you would like to find out more I suggest you dig out Hops and Glory by Pete Brown (link provided below), which provides every bit of information you would like to know about the story and more.
When the UK took charge over India, there was very little in way of alcoholic substance for soldiers and the like to enjoy, apart from selected wines etc that were only meant for the upper class at the time. However there was one that was derived from a natural plant source that the Indians also consumed named arak. This was an incredibly strong alcoholic substance and led to a stream of troubles in the British army from unlawful behaviour to death by alcohol poisoning, as there were no ways of measuring the alcohol content at this time.
Once this was noticed by the higher classes of society living in India and back in the UK, they decided something had to be done. At the time they did know that a higher alcohol content and hops provided some protection against time and the ravages of such a journey that a ship would have, to take to reach India and that most lower alcoholic drinks would not. So Burton brewers got under way in brewing the first pale beer intended to reach India in a drinkable state.
As the story goes on, this was found to be very successful and provided a much needed break for the country from the substance arak, which was slowly but surely taking over and killing much of the army’s soldiers due to substance abuse. This new beer would have been around 7% and highly hopped, not especially cool however for the first few years until alternative measures of cooling were invented (cooling not refrigeration).
So that is the basics of the story behind IPA, however there is far more information regarding what arak was exactly, the role Burton on Trent had to play and how involved ale is currently in India in this book - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hops-Glory-search-British-Empire/dp/0230706355
Any questions regarding this story feel free to leave comments and they will be answered as soon as possible.
Member since: 2nd August 2011
About to start a course in nutrition, health and lifestyle at Sheffield hallam university, however in spare time i frequently blog, twitter and all the rest of it about the local drink industry's in Derbyshire...