Recently I came across a thread on BeerAdvocate posted by the founder, titled “Number of American India Pale Ales (IPAs) listed on BeerAdvocate”. This included relevant, and retired American IPAs, and Double IPAs, over the last 20 years. It does not include New-England IPAs (NEIPA).
“1998 = 4
2008 = 2,148 (5% of the beers in our database)
2018 = 61,629 (18% of the beers in our database)
There were certainly more IPAs around in 1998, but not as many as you’d think. And all reviews/beer entered until 2000 were by the bro and I.” – Todd, founder of B.A.
61k+ IPAs should make your insides hurt. It should make you cringe. It should make you want to smash every IPA beer bottle or can in your fridge right now. OK, maybe don’t do that, thats alcohol abuse. However, it is absolutely absurd to have a number that large. To me this just means many people aren’t trying enough of other styles. They go into a brewery and immediately look at what IPAs are on draft. If consumers constantly ask for IPAs, brewers are going to constantly brew IPAs. This is our fault, not the brewers, they just need to meet demand, its all business.
We as consumers tend to not stay loyal to any one beer. We want IPAs and we want something new every single time. So to stay ahead, a brewer will take a great selling IPA, keep the same malt bill, and change up the hops used in it, and then name it something different. It gets pretty exhausting when you hear a brewery is releasing a new beer and…wait for it…its another IPA!
I’d like to see more consumers broaden their palate. Just try a bunch of other styles, and try them from different breweries, as everyone has a slightly different take on these age old styles. You have to think, many of these beer styles have been so popular for years and years with good reason…they are delicious!
I’m not saying I dislike IPAs, but I’d be ok if a brewery didn’t release 5 new beers every single week, and they’re mostly or all IPAs. Maybe start brewing more of these limited, “hyped” beers and release the same one over a period of time so more people can try them. Enough with this rarity stuff all the time, all its doing is creating beer snobs, something I believe we don’t need in this community.
If you’re truly nervous about trying anything else other than some sort of IPA, I suggest starting with a Pilsner. Many American brewers are starting to heavily dry hop this style now, making it pretty similar to an IPA except its way more balanced, way more crushable, and way crisper.