Popularized largely by the craft beer renaissance, interest in IPAs has exploded in recent years. These brews are hoppy beers, known for their strong and bitter flavor. They pair well with strongly-flavored foods, such as grilled meats, and come in three main styles: American, English, and Double.
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IPAs: a little background
The first known use of the term “India pale ale” is from 1829. Formulated to survive long voyages at sea, the extra hops impart the deep and rich flavor that characterize IPAs. This pale ale came about from the need to preserve brews intended for export to India, nearly 200 years ago. They soon became popular in their native England, and also in other colonial countries.
Modern IPAs are produced in the UK, the United States, Canada, and Belgium.
American IPAs are usually crafted using American hops and come in two main varieties. IPAs produced on the East Coast typically use more malt to balance out the hops. The hop flavor in ales produced in northern California and the Pacific Northwest, on the other hand, are more robust. There are also Double (Imperial) IPAs, which are even hoppier.
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Is glassware important?
The short answer is, “yes.” The long answer is “yes, of course it does!” Like any other quality alcoholic beverage, sampling an IPA greatly benefits from being tasted from a good quality glass. Bourbon is sipped from snifters, Champagne from flutes, and red wines from large-bowled glasses. A well-crafted IPA, with all its complex and volatile aromas, deserves the same respect!
Fortunately, there are many glasses that are perfect for an IPA but won’t break the bank. Let’s look at some of the best.
Spiegelau makes a beer glass that is perfect for a craft beer, such as Rogue or the very tasty Dogfish Head. The manufacturer is owned by Riedel, and they know a thing or two about glassware.
At about 8 inches in height, this glass holds just under 20 ounces. As the Brits created the IPA, it is not unfair to think that it should be drank by the pint (or close enough)!
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Shaker pint glasses
Shaker pint glasses have come under fire for years by beer aficionados, but just because they’re nearly everywhere doesn’t mean they aren’t a good choice for an IPA. If they disappeared, I’m pretty sure the same folks that complained about them would be the first to demand their return. Sierra Nevada makes a good one.
At 6 inches tall and with a capacity of a full pint, this sturdy glass can stand up to even the most robust Imperial IPA.
A tice tulip or goblet can help get the most out of an India pale ale. A tulip is nice to hold and gives you that “in the bar” feel, even when you’re at home. There are few better than the ones produced by Arcoroc. They come in packs of up to 24, so they are great value for money and you won’t be too upset if one of your friends breaks one.
Spiegelau also makes a tulip, and the 6-pack is competitively priced. You’ll marvel that you ever cleaned the mouth of a beer bottle with your shirt after enjoying an IPA from one of these classy glasses.
When it comes to goblets, Teku makes a refined-looking 14.2 ounce IPA glass that still allows you to enjoy more than just a small bottle’s worth in one hand. After all, a hearty beer should be enjoyed from a nice, big glass.
Many hardened beer drinkers will remain loyal to the traditional beer mug, and the Hofbrauhaus Beer Mug is one of the best. It’s as big and strong as you can buy (0.5 liter), and as heavy as an IPA (nearly 2 pounds).
These mugs are a great addition to any glassware set. A quality mug like this feels good to drink from and makes a great gift if you have a few friends who enjoy a good beer.
Keep ‘em comin’!
If you’re a fan of IPAs, get yourself a pack of one of these glasses! Quality glassware really lets you enjoy the full-bodied, complex flavors and aromas that these hoppy brews offer.
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