The Session: IPA: What's the Big Deal?

IPA: What's the Big Deal?

So, I don't really know where all of the other bloggers are going to be going with this one, but I have my very own take on this whole IPA and IPA Day thing. I made a post about it a couple years back, not exactly about it, but kind of close. I did fail in my mission though... Kind of.

I am a very big advocate of "Drink What You Damn Well Please Day", otherwise known as "West Coast Circle Jerk Day", or simply as "IPA Day". Now, don't get me wrong. I do love and thoroughly enjoy IPA's. They are not my favorite style but I do brew a few insane ones. What I do not understand is; Who was the person, (I know the person/people responsible), that decided the India Pale Ale was the best beer style to get non-craft drinkers to make the switch to craft?

Now, I am not saying I have the perfect answer or style to get someone to like beer. Hell, there is so much out there and everyone is different. That makes it very subjective. For me, the magical style of beer was anything Belgian. Granted, that is pretty broad but when I first got into beer I hated every IPA I tried. I used to complain and tell everyone how crappy they were as a style. You would not believe it. Especially knowing me now.

One thing I hate about the India Pale Ale is that everyone brews one and they they think are so good at it. Sure, that might be the beer elitist in me coming out, but after I got into them, you have no idea how many bad IPA's I have tasted. And I don't mean bad as in they are not to my taste, I feel I am able to distinguish between a good one that I do not like and one that is good that I do like. I mean straight up bad IPA's. Commonly bad. Determined bad by people on all of those beer rating sites that I hate. But everyone feels that it is their right to brew one.

When you go to one of those breweries you notice how bad the other beers they serve there are because it seems as if they were hoping the IPA would be their flagship beer. They spent no time on the other styles that they feel define their brewery. I feel this is a bunch of BS. There have been places I went, and spent very little time at because the staff kept pushing the higher ABV and higher IBU beers onto me when I asked about their line up or said I wanted one of the lower ABV or IBU beers on their menu. Then people want to get up into a fit when certain social media/beer bloggers get into a fit about the culture and the demoralization of "craft" beer in America.

It is sad when those breweries do not last long, but they should have been thinking more of their product and not just trying to get into the business. Sure, there are over 2500 breweries in The United States now, but there is still a lot of bad beer out there. And out of those 2500 how many are going to fall off because they cannot turn a profit? I guess those people get into any business that they see growing and believe they can make a quick buck on, beer not being excluded.

Back to the IPA Day thing... I think IPA's, to a non-craft drinker, are pretty offensive and have no place at being the beer of choice to convert the masses. Granted some people will taste an IPA and love beer from then on out, but generally, I find that is not the case. The most simple, in our minds, non-bitter IPA's may be more than some can handle. For me Dogfish Head 120 was the first IPA I truly appreciated. Then followed by Racer 5. Kind of bizarre for someone who hated every single one he tried. It took me a good 2 years before I did get into them and then, that is all I wanted.

It is about finding what the person likes, what fits their taste, and trying different things. There are 70+ recognized styles of beer. Not one single style is going to catch everyone's attention. But that is where education comes in. There are a great number of educated beer people out there and not just certified one, but then again, there are a ton that care nothing about what they are tasting so long as it is good... or it gets them drunk. Now consider those people... continue to preach the glories of the India Pale Ale, or just move on because you know it is a lost cause? Hell, they aren't even listening to you.
I had very little information about either of these beers but, as the name would imply, The SourPatch was sour and as for The Honey Badger, that beer was aged in Jack Daniel Barrels and clocked in at 13% ABV. I told the waitress I hated it and to bring me a glass of the SourPatch. She told me The Honey Badger was one of their most popular recently... Yeah, at 13% and from what I know of the people that live in this town, NO SURPRISE!
The choice is yours. I know my stance. And I feel you should make your own decision rather than have it forced fed down your throat.



  1. I like this rant. I agree that too many people tend to ignore too many other great beer styles in favor of the IPA. As weird as it sounds the IPA has become a bit boring. Everyone brewey has one, and too many just try to pump in the IBUs. I love a good IPA, but sometimes I just want something balance and easy drinking... something that won't kick me in the teeth.

    1. Thanks for the read! I'm glad you liked it. I'm thinking about doing a project like you, and brew a beer from each category. I feel I would learn a lot and probably find some new favorites.


  2. My problem with IPA day is that many craft beer drinkers get stuck on IPAs and don't try other styles. So next year I'm proposing either a Saison Day or more likely a Belgian Day.... still tinkering with the details and will hopefully get some Cinci brewers in on it!

    1. I feel the idea behind a day is lame and way too commercial. I understand this is a business but having just a general appreciation day is enough.

      Maybe local pubs and breweries should do a monthly focus on a style, if it fits their business model. It should be about eviction of beer. I'm no master but I hate going somewhere and hearing people talk about beer while others stand back and think this person is God, not knowing his "facts" are completely wrong...

    2. I meant education. Not eviction lol