Why/How did IPA's become so popular in America?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by bdeast1, Jun 9, 2012.

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  1. bdeast1

    bdeast1 Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2011 Alabama

    I know there is no set "America's most popular beer" (not including BMC products). I also know that we have many popular styles in america Double Stouts, BA stouts, Barleywines, etc. But IPA's seem to be such a big deal among us craft lovers (myself included). I first broke into craft on porters and stouts, and developed my love for IPA's. I know with many it's the opposite. My question: What is it about IPA's that we love so much in America that we just can't get enough. It's such a strong like that many brewers have several IPA's in their lineup. Thoughts?
  2. Horbar

    Horbar Zealot (560) Feb 24, 2012 Rhode Island

    I am a hop head myself, but I see quite a bit of RIS and Belgian lovers as well.
  3. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (518) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Because they're delicious.
  4. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,431) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I think we can wrap things up right here.
  5. WYVYRN527

    WYVYRN527 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2007 Minnesota

    I'm a huge fan the hoppy beers myself, and I think it's the fact that Americans love to destroy their palates quickly in a sitting. I see the same thing when it comes to wine.
    Elfastball7 likes this.
  6. bdeast1

    bdeast1 Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2011 Alabama

    Well played. Maybe I should spend more time drinking my Two hearted and West Coast IPA, and less time worrying about why I love them so much. I didn't even think about Belgians. They are pretty popular as well.
    JLebowski likes this.
  7. Stankonia

    Stankonia Initiate (0) Dec 17, 2010 Idaho

    Basically..I know some people consider it a fad, but if people didn't enjoy drinking IPAs, then they wouldn't be popular. And as much as everyone loves RIS, the fact is the IPAs and DIPAs are just a lot more drinkable
    SawDog505 likes this.
  8. DrunkenMonk

    DrunkenMonk Disciple (319) Jun 2, 2012 California

    I would also like to know which are the top selling beers in USA. This can be determined if the breweries share the info with a trade association, if there is one. I'm curious about trends also. In my store sweet sparkling wines are very trendy and in high demand. Likewise, fuit beers, ciders and lambics are hot sellers. Is this a national trend or just a local?
  9. lucas1801

    lucas1801 Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2012 Massachusetts

    Want to destroy your palate with hops?Get some Double Sunshine.
  10. gustogasmic

    gustogasmic Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Malty England
    Yeasty Belgium
    Hoppy America
    German Lager
  11. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,303) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    IRI and other industry sources usually put Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as the #1 selling individual "craft" beer (with about 6% of the craft share of the market), followed closely by Samuel Adams Boston Lager. After that come NB Fat Tire, Shiner Bock, SN Torpedo (thus the best selling IPA) and Widmer Hefenweizen.

    India Pale Ale recently became the best selling craft beer "style" (though the industry lists "Seasonal" at #1, but that, of course, includes a number of different styles), followed by Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Amber Lager, Wheat and Bock. Still IPA has about 13% of the craft market, so about ¾ of 1% of the total US beer market. The styles you list are all around 1% or less of the craft market.
    tronester, Chaz and Norica like this.
  12. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,303) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    If you're a store owner, you should subscribe to some industry publications- the figures are out there.

    The best selling US beer brands are listed here via Beer Business Daily's website - Top Brands
    tronester and DJFairhurst like this.
  13. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (295) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    just a thought....and that's all it is: an IPA is about as polar opposite from an adjunct lager as you can possibly get. What better way to differentiate yourself from the hoards of "common" BMC drinkers than to crack open a nice bitter IPA?

    Oh, and yes, they're delicious
    tronester likes this.
  14. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Actually, I tend to think they have more in common than you think. IPAs tend to be more attenuated and drier than many other beer styles. It is much easier to consume a beer with a lighter body and low residual sugars than it is to a sweeter beer with a fuller body. Much like the Adjunct Lager, an IPA lends itself to consumability.

    Where the two styles obviously differ is intensity of flavor. The IPA is bold and assertive, you pair that with the ease of consumption it is no surprise why the IPA is so popular.

    My thought on the polar opposite of the adjunct lager? Imperial Stout.
  15. klaybie

    klaybie Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2009 Illinois

    Or any sour?
  16. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (295) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    true enough. I trapped myself in the spectrum of light/pale beer

    Sours? now there's a polarizing style for sure
  17. klaybie

    klaybie Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2009 Illinois

    Indeed, sours are a polarizing style. I'd say they'll never reach the popularity of IPAs since they are quite expensive and well...sour. I think IPAs became so popular because they are higher in abv, have bolder flavor with a spectrum of fruit-y flavors, and are mostly very affordable.
  18. mtp

    mtp Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2012

    stupac2 hit it on the nose! They are delicious.
  19. Chickenhawk9932

    Chickenhawk9932 Savant (911) Jul 19, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I wonder sometimes if the love of IPAs is looking like a love of spicy foods. I grew up hating spicy foods because I experienced them done poorly. After living in Louisiana and having spicy food done right, I developed a craving for it. I have had authentic Indian curie which was awesome, and I had some amazing Mexican food down in Moreilia that made my taste buds sizzle and left me wondering why Mexican food state side could not even come close. Still, most people I know that "love" spicy foods want to brag about something that melts your face and leaves you incapable of tasting anything. I've noticed this with IPAs - when done right it is a delightful experience that awakens your taste buds, when done poorly it is a game of: "can you handle this? I can." Which is sad.
    StJamesGate, spry, tronester and 2 others like this.
  20. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Meyvn (1,126) Mar 1, 2009 California

    Lots of current and old pot-heads...
  21. StubFaceJoe

    StubFaceJoe Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2011 Colorado

    This. Americans think craft, we think it HAS to be intense and have HUGE flavor. No time to figure it out, gimme the big one.
  22. ShemRahBoo

    ShemRahBoo Defender (604) Jan 28, 2010 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    IPAs were the first style i really got into after having a celebration. The reason they are so popular like most are saying is because of the bold bright flavors and drinkability. I will admit earlier on the ABV influenced me slightly because you can't help but feel like you are getting more bang for your buck.
  23. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I lean towards this statement being overblown just a bit. I cannot argue at all the imperialization of styles is certainly an American trademark, we do like big in your face beers. When you look at the beer we have available to us as a whole you neglect a huge portion of what makes up the American craft brew scene if you view it solely as bold, brash and aggressive beers. Forums like this focus on the big beers because they are more exciting, but that does not mean we don't drink the less "exciting" more balanced beers, they just don't make exciting conversation. I think we also have a tendency to view BA as a representation of the beer scene as a whole. BA represents a small portion of the customer base and our opinions often do not match the opinion of the whole.
    Auror, JohnB87, Errto and 1 other person like this.
  24. Chugs13

    Chugs13 Defender (605) Dec 11, 2011 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Mmmm Hops...
    5thOhio likes this.
  25. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,413) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    its America its Imperial its a style of what sells and get displays and shelf space ,but right now im drinking and enjoying a summer love
    Chickenhawk9932 likes this.
  26. Zimbo

    Zimbo Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2010 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    Because America is a man's country and folks got sick and tired of drinking sissy watery Bud. But pale ale wouldn't do nor would IPA or even Double IPA. Only Imperial IPA was worthy though I'm still waiting for someone to produce a Quad IPA. And I'm gettin' impatient.
    tronester, sbuysse and Kuemmelbrau like this.
  27. Heatwave33

    Heatwave33 Devotee (456) Sep 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    The bitterness from good hops and sweetness/bitterness from citrus and the balance of the malts. I'm creaming myself as I type!
    jaybags likes this.
  28. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (479) Mar 7, 2010 New York

    They also seem to be gaining popularity among non-craft drinkers/people don't regularly drink craft.
  29. Pahn

    Pahn Meyvn (1,456) Dec 2, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    name recognition ("oh, i'll just have an IPA," "do you have any IPAs?" etc), plus lots of really excellent (D)IPAs made across the country.

    SNPA as a gateway beer also helps.
  30. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,413) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Moylans and fitger's brewpud(duluth) already have 1
  31. Zimbo

    Zimbo Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2010 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    Right. I'm hoping on a plane for San Francisco and Minnesota right now.
    jaybags likes this.
  32. Crackerroll

    Crackerroll Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2011 Missouri

    AIPA/IPA in the Summer and Extra Stout/Imperial stouts in the winter for me.
  33. dannyhipps

    dannyhipps Aspirant (204) Oct 15, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Pretty simple, IMHO. My experience and the shared experiences of most of my friends tells me that it's simply a love at first sight phenomenon. And sure, there will always be trendy assholes amongst us in human society who gravitate to whatever's popular and lie to themselves and convince themselves that they like something that "everyone else" does....
    Or how about the craft beer guy like me who has to sit down with a boring german lager, or APA and force himself to nurse it and appreciate it's "subtle nuances" ? Sure, I can appreciate just about any beer in the right situation, and with tears in my eyes see it full tilt boogie as the masterpiece that it is, but who are we kidding? I'd much rather be quaffing a LUSCIOUS Mongo, Sculpin, WipeOut, Union Jack, or what have you if given the option...
    In my experience, the IPA phenom is a LOVE/HATE thing... you can tell when you get someone talking... they scratch their chin and try to hide that look on their face like they just smelled catpiss, and yammer on about how they "{ can appreciate a good IPA, "like PLINY, butt" ........ Well, that a pretty big BUTT, Lorraine..
  34. paulys55

    paulys55 Zealot (587) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I think Kevin nailed it above. It is a style that showcases the delicious flavors that hops lend to beers while remaining very drinkable.
  35. Fartknocker

    Fartknocker Initiate (117) Jan 17, 2009 Wisconsin

    Because many want to be part of the 'cool' clique.
  36. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Sadly the latter group is quite common. Know your scoville units for that ghost pepper salsa!? How many IBU's is that beer? It better exceed 120!
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,103) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “How many IBU's is that beer? It better exceed 120!” I am not ‘averse’ to bitterness. For example I enjoyed drinking Green Flash Palate Wrecker. But my preference is the flavor/aroma hops. One of my favorite IPAs is Bells Two Hearted. That beer does not have a lot of bitterness but it is one TASTY beer from the generous flavor/aroma hopping.

    Two Hearted, yum!

    GregoryVII likes this.
  38. BrianTheBrewer30

    BrianTheBrewer30 Aspirant (211) Nov 17, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    What is it about IPA's that we love so much in America that we just can't get enough?

    Drink Alpine and your questions will be answered.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  39. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (789) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I think part of it is that so many good IPA's are brewed. Just about every craft brewery seems to make a good IPA. That does not seem to be the case about any other style.
  40. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    Are the popular because so many are brewed or are they brewed because they are so popular?
    tronester and Zaphog like this.
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