India Pale Ale was the answer to providing beer for the British troops in the east. It was too hot to brew in India, so what was needed was a beer that could survive the gruelling, six-month journey from Britain intact.
In the 1780s, a London brewer called Hodgson answered the call by sending out a strong, heavily-hopped beer called October Ale that would normally be aged like wine before drinking. The beer not only survived the journey, but positively thrived.
Hodgson’s beer was much imitated but eventually the style evolved into weaker pale ale and proper IPA began to die out with the advent of refrigeration. When the Americans rediscovered their love of brewing in the late Seventies, many forgotten British styles were recreated – including IPA – and, being American, they didn’t do things by halves. These new ales were packed with alcohol and hops.
From America, IPA returned home across the Atlantic with Proper Job spearheading the charge of the powerfully punchy UK IPAs following a brewing exchange undertaken by Roger Ryman to Portland, Oregon in 2004:
“When I returned, I declared that I was going to brew a proper IPA - authentic, strong, pale and hoppy - in the model of the new generation of US craft brewers. Not having a name for the beer when I did the trial brew I just wrote Proper Job IPA on the brew sheet and the rest, as they say, is history.”