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The Brits in India in the early stages of their rule had an access only to light Porter beer - specifically dark and heavy one, that was the most popular brew of that time in cold London. But, it was not fit for the tropical climate as it was not hopped. It failed to give them the necessary kick and thrill because it often arrived sour, stale, infected and flat. Sometimes it arrived with off-flavors ranging from cardboard to rotten vegetables. In many cases the barrels were leaky or broken (may be caused by too much rattling on the high seas) and, sometimes, almost emptied by ship riders en route. For many boozers disappointment and frustration were writ on their face as they could not down a foul-smelling beer.
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IPA -_India Pale Ale was the right answer to the problem of quenching the parched British Army in India where, in the horrible tropical heat, it was difficult to make a nice brew with long shelf-life. The British officials frantically wanted some kind of brew that could survive grueling six-month journey without refrigeration from Britain to India and was good enough to consume. Thus IPA was specifically made in England for the British Angelo Indians. It is a beefed-up version of pale ale, using more hops and with a higher alcohol content. It became a popular brew with British troops stationed in the various barracks of India in the 19th century, when the subcontinent was under the control of the British Crown. In all social gatherings, you could see British Bobs either trading talks with their fiancee or relaxing over this brew. Bow Brewery, England came up with a new version of a brew that was later called India Pale Ale. The name was based on its color and was not dark or brown. As to it's exact origin and method of preparation, controversy still persists. Any way, it gave the British the required break when they were off duty or on holidays.
Surprisingly IPA - India Pale Ale became the most sought-after beer internationally and its sale increased manifold between 1775 to 1800. Later
Lager became popular for many reasons like industrialization, better techniques, mass production, etc. However, IPA is believed to be the strongest name in craft beer circles and coinciding with the craft beer revolution starting in the USA, IPA regained some of the lost ground and became a popular brew.
It was the arrival of October Ale in India that gave British soldiers and others a sigh of relief and satisfaction. In the 1780s, a London brewer by the name of Hodgson successfully made a strong heavily hopped beer called October Ale that would normally be aged like wine before drinking. The beer, surprisingly, survived the rough and long sea- voyage and over a time improved taste-wise. This prototype IPA (beer) gradually became paler and more refreshing to suit the Indian climate. The higher alcohol percentage, in the beer had an advantage and kept the British Bobs in thrall. They could get drunk faster than expected and never felt homesick being in India. Extra hopping and a bit higher alcohol content made all the difference!!