America drives IPA frenzy

Tenfold increase in seven years

Within the craft beer market there’s never been a phenomenon to match the growth of IPA. Originally a high alcohol, malty, hoppy beer able to survive the pre-refrigeration shipping from England to India, India pale ale is now the buzz style for the world’s craft brewers.

In the US, engine room of the craft brewing business, IPA volume leapt from eight per cent of the total craft market in 2008 to 27.4 per cent in mid 2015. And that was in a rapidly growing market.

Writes Bart Watson on, “craft brewing is on pace to have a total volume this year three times larger than it was in 2008… [IPAs] would have grown more than ten times its 2008 size, or more than 6 million barrels [704 million litres]”.

IPA is on a similar trajectory in Australia, albeit in a far smaller scale.


Feral Brewing War Hog American IPA 330ml $6.90
Golden coloured War Hog, from the Swan Valley, Western Australia, saturates the senses with hop-derived tropical-fruit and citrus characters. Up the nose it goes, then floods the palate with rich, smooth malt flavour and warming alcohol (eight per cent). The hops push through, giving a resiny, dry, very bitter aftertaste.

Pirate Life Imperial IPA 500ml can $11.90
Mid-amber coloured Pirate Life, from South Australia, ups the alcohol content to 8.8 per cent and all the other flavours rise with it. The aroma reveals the resiny, rather than citrus of fruity side of hops. Likewise, powerful, resiny hops stomp over the palate, barely restrained by molasses-like malt, then fanned by alcoholic sweetness and astringency.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 12 and 13 January 2016 in  and the Canberra Times