The IPA style has become one of the most popular style of beers in American in recent years. You would be hard pressed to find a brewery that does not serve some style of an IPAbeer. Even though its popularity has only recently started to sky-rocket, the IPA has been around for a very long time.
The IPA style of beer first came around in the late 18th century. The beer was sent over to British colonies in India. By the 1760s, brewers were told that it was highly recommended to add more hops to beers that were to be consumed in warmer climates. This beer was called “India Pale Ale,” or “Pale Ale for India.”
In the United States today, the IPA may be the number one style of beer sold at microbreweries. And for good reason! The IPA is a very refreshing beer, with great citrus notes. In order to truly experience an IPA the way it should be, I would recommend to drink it off tap.
As far as New Mexican IPAs go, we are a very blessed state. The flagship beer of the La Cumbre Brewery, Elevated IPA, is one the highest rated IPAs on beeradvocate.com. The Elevated IPA is my favorite beer, and hands down the best IPA I have had so far. I would highly encourage anyone who comes to New Mexico that is interested in great beer to check it out. Marble Brewery also has a great IPA, and so does the Santa Fe Brewing company. If you want the quintessential New Mexican beer, pick up a six-pack of Happy Campers, the IPA brewed by the Santa Fe Brewing Company. The iconic can is the New Mexican flag, and the New Mexico flag is something that local New Mexicans love.
The way that IPA is brewed is what makes for its unique and hoppy flavor. A pale malt is always used, which is what gives the beer its light appearance. The main thing that makes an IPA an IPA is the liberal use of hops. Typically, when American hops are used, a very piney and citrusy flavor is apparent. The hops are added multiple times during the initial brewing process. Hops added near the beginning of the boil add bitterness to the flavor, and hops added near the end of the boil add the aromatic aspects of the beer. Often times in order to add even more aromatic compounds to the beer, a technique called dry-hopping is used. Dry-hopping is when hop pellets, hop plugs, or whole hops are added to the fermenter during the fermentation process. This allows for some of the more delicate aromatic oils that are usually broken down by the boiling process to become more pronounced. Critics of this process say that it gives the beer an oily and grassy feel.
Overall, the IPA is my favorite style of beer. There is nothing more refreshing than a cold, hoppy, and refreshing IPA on a hot summer day. Like I said before, if you’re ever in New Mexico, be sure to try an Elevated IPA from La Cumbre. You wont regret it!