India Pale Ale

The term pale ale originally denoted an ale that had been brewed from pale malt.[3] The pale ales of the early 18th century were lightly hopped and quite different from later pale ales.[4][original research?] By the mid-18th century, pale ale was mostly manufactured with coke-fired malt, which produced less smoking and roasting of barley in the malting process, and hence produced a paler beer.[5][6] One such variety of beer was October beer, a pale well-hopped brew popular among the landed classes, who brewed it domestically; once brewed it was intended to cellar two years.[7]

19th century poster for Phipps, an IPA brewer in Northampton.

Among the first brewers known to export beer to India was the Bow Brewery, on the Middlesex-Essex border. Bow Brewery beers became popular among East India Company traders in the late 18th century because of the brewery's location[a] and Hodgson's liberal credit line of 18 months. Ships transported Hodgson's beers to India, among them his October beer, which benefited exceptionally from conditions of the voyage and was apparently highly regarded among its consumers in India.[9] Bow Brewery came into the control of Hodgson's son in the early 19th century,[b] but his business practices alienated their customers.[citation needed] During the same period, several Burton breweries lost their European export market in Russia when the Tsar banned the trade, and were seeking a new export market for their beer.[8]

At the behest of the East India Company, Allsopp brewery developed a strongly-hopped pale ale in the style of Hodgson's for export to India.[10][11] Other Burton brewers, including Bass and Salt, were anxious to replace their lost Russian export market and quickly followed Allsopp's lead. Perhaps as a result of the advantages of Burton water in brewing,[c] Burton India pale ale was preferred by merchants and their customers in India, but Hodgson's October beer clearly influenced the Burton brewers' India pale ales.

Early IPA, such as Burton brewers' and Hodgson's, was only slightly higher in alcohol than most beer brewed in his day and would not have been considered a strong ale; however, a greater proportion of the wort was well-fermented, leaving behind few residual sugars, and the beer was strongly hopped.[12] The common story that early IPAs were much stronger than other beers of the time, however, is a myth.[13] While IPA's were formulated to survive long voyages by sea better than other styles of the time, porter was also shipped to India and California successfully.[14] It is clear that by the 1860s, India pale ales were widely brewed in England, and that they were much more attenuated and highly hopped than porters and many other ales.[15]

Demand for the export style of pale ale, which had become known as India pale ale, developed in England around 1840 and India pale ale became a popular product in England.[16][17] Some brewers dropped the term "India" in the late 19th century, but records indicated that these "pale ales" retained the features of earlier IPAs.[18] American, Australian, and Canadian brewers manufactured beer with the label IPA before 1900, and records suggest that these beers were similar to English IPA of the era