The Origins and Diaspora of the India Pale Ale

  • Jake E. Haugland


The origins and spread of the India Pale Ale (IPA) has geographic themes of immigration, diffusion, and globalization. Flemish immigration to the Kent region of England during the 1500s shortly led to the cultivation of hops, inevitably changing British beers styles. Pale malts produced with advances in industrialization in the latter 1600s later incorporated high levels of hopping rates producing high gravity pale ales and October ales, the ancestors of the IPA. These bitter beers where preferred in Tropical India by British colonists to the sweet dark ales. Soon they spread throughout the British Empire and were imported into North America as well. IPAs became highly copied by breweries across the globe until the late 1880s. German immigration to the U.S. and the global distribution of lagers greatly reduced the IPA’s prominence as lagers were more preferred in tropical environments. The Temperance movement was an ideological act of globalization that discouraged the drinking of high gravity beers. The IPA declined as temperance and rationing for world wars made the high gravity IPAs less acceptable to drink over that of lagers. Later the U.S. would be the new home of the IPA, influenced by West Coast brewers. Citrusy American hops changed the IPA profile and further experimentation has led to hybrid IPAs that reflect a fusion of varying beer styles.


High Gravity East India Company Alpha Acid Original Gravity British Style 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Continuing Education and Professional StudiesUniversity of Colorado-BoulderBoulderUSA

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