Craft Beer Styles: What is an IPA?

With the craft beer scene really starting to grow in South Africa and new local breweries popping up every week, the range of local craft beers as well as a few imports has grown massively over the last couple years. To start off this section of my blog, I will be going through a few of my favourite styles of craft beer and will be giving you guys a couple examples of my favourite local beers as well as some of the imports we have available in South Africa.

For the first style, I have gone with my personal favourite which is an IPA or India Pale Ale. This style of beer has become increasingly popular and there are some fantastic beers to fit this style available. The style is said to have originated in England in the 19th century when the ships used to travel from England to India. They were said to have dropped off barrels of beer to the guys stationed in the Cape of Good Hope and the beer was all well and good but by the time they got to India, the beer was off and sour. They figured out that hops, one of beers key ingredients acted as a natural preservative as well as a relatively high alcohol content also acting as a natural preservative. So basically an IPA is a very hoppy beer which usually has a higher alcohol content than most Pale Ales.

IPA's use more hops as it acts as a natural preservative

IPA’s use more hops as it acts as a natural preservative

There are 2 stand out examples of this style which I find myself drinking plenty of whenever I can my hands on one. The first is The Kings Blockhouse by Devil’s Peak Brewing Company. This is an awesome example of the style and for me personally, is the best local IPA available in South Africa. From its very cool branding to the beer inside the bottle, it’s a true hop-head’s delight. The Woodstock based brewery has recently opened an on-site taproom so be sure to stop by and taste the beer as fresh as it can be.

The Local Devil's Peak Brewing Company's Blockhouse

The Local Devil’s Peak Brewing Company’s Blockhouse

My favourite imported IPA has got to be the BrewDog Punk IPA. This beer is more of an entry level IPA, while the Kings Blockhouse is more for the hardcore IPA drinkers. This beer is brewed in Ellon, Scotland and is really starting to get a big reputation in South Africa as well as around the world. They have recently just finished filming their craft beer mini series called “Brewdogs”. You should go check out their website and blog for more details as this already sounds like it’s gonna be really entertaining.

The Phenomenal Brewdog Punk IPA

The Phenomenal Brewdog Punk IPA

Both the Devil’s Peak and Brewdog beers are available on tap or in bottle at most bottle stores and restaurants that sell or stock craft beer so if you can, go give it a taste. My favourite places to go drink these are Banana Jam in Kenilworth, Beerhouse on Long and Dizzys in Camps Bay

So if any of you are interested in treating your taste buds to some awesome craft beer, those are my 2 personal recommendations to get a feel of what this amazing style of beer has to offer. Please feel free to comment either on your favourite IPA’s or any other styles of beer you would like to see me go into a bit more detail with.

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