IPA Day started last year as a grassroots social media movement meant to rally beer nerds worldwide in a grand, joyful and bottle-filled celebration of a craft beer rich with history, hops and happiness.
According to the event’s website, “IPA Day is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. IPA Day is opportunity for all breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer.”
Last year, enough drinkers got excited about the concept to get the hashtag trending on Twitter with around 10,000 tweets, and now some bars and restaurants are even holding events to celebrate. If you can't find an official event around you, you can at least be a good Samaritan by visiting your favorite watering hole and convincing someone to swap out their normal watered-down brew for something far more satisfying.
The origin of the traditional India Pale Ale is a contentious subject: Popular legend has it that the brew gained popularity in the late 1700s and early 1800s when some genius British guy decided that extra hops needed to be added to the beer Brit soldiers and sailors took on their long voyages to India.
Other beer nerds say the idea of adding hops to beer dates back as far as the 1760s, when there was a general consensus that it was “absolutely necessary” to add hops to beer intended to be consumed in hot climates.
And while Americans may have totally fucked up the taco and every Asian chicken dish (I swear General Tso's chicken is just a bunch of McNuggets doused in bastardized barbeque sauce), we kind of hit it head (pun) on with our Americanization of the IPA, which has enveloped into a beautiful beer subculture rich with variations like double and triple IPAs and crazy flavor profiles, adding fruit and herb undertones and dark, smoky accents.
While some certain brands and styles of beer like mainstream pilsners and lagers might be more ubiquitous in the American drinking landscape, the IPA represents, truly, a craft beer art form that continues to be innovated and explored.
If you're not sure where to start, check out alehead.com's list of some of the best IPAs available today before you head to the store. Bell's Two Hearted Ale will forever have my heart, but I think we might have to see other people today.