Today is the day we celebrate America’s most beloved beer, the IPA. (OK, technically America’s favorite beer is flavorless malt water, but we’ll let that slide.) And so, to accompany the bottle you are undoubtedly throwing back right now, here are five things you might not know about the bitter ale.
1. It was not invented because no one could get beer in India.
A common misconception in the IPA origin story is that British colonists in India couldn’t get any beer to survive the long trip from England to Calcutta. Porter, higher in alcohol than most British beer at the time, survived the voyage pretty well. But speculation is that, unlike porter, the bitter beer that would become IPA didn’t just survive the trip, it actually improved with the change in temperature onboard.
2. The invention of the IPA saved people from a world of “brewed from concentrate” beer.
According to beer historian Peter Mathias, one possibility the British admiralty considered to ensure their beer arrived in drinkable condition was to freeze out the water, concentrate the beer and reconstitute it onboard.