Starting in 2011, in the craft beer community began to recognize the first Thursday in August as a celebration known as IPA Day. This designated holiday recognizing the signature beer of the craft beer drinker, the India Pale Ale or IPA, is meant for the world to come together via social media to unite and open conversation about your favorite brew of the day. There are even organized events across the country where craft beer drinkers can come together. So, why have IPA Day and how can you celebrate?
The Brewer’s Association officially considers a brewery to be a ‘Craft Brewer’ if they brew 6 million barrels or less each year, own 75% of the brewery operations themselves, and uses an all malt flagship (use of non-malt additives used aren’t meant to lighten the beverage). Of the 2,347 breweries responsible for beer brands in the United States, 97% of those are Craft Brewers, however, as of 2012 the Craft Brewers’ market share is a mere 10%. Yes, that’s a lot of math, but what it means is that even though the Craft Brewer is quite common, their sales and exposure level is incredibly low.
Every day it seems as though we hear more and more about craft beer, whether it be from advertising and social media or just from heading to dinner or drinks with friends. The industry is currently undergoing an incredible growth period which would never be possible without the continued support of the public. Much like the growth of heathy clean eating, buying local, and focusing on American-made products, the craft beer industry is a very grassroots community. So why IPA Day? To continue to provide awareness and foster support for an industry and product worthwhile.
Due to the popularity and accessibility of the India Pale Ale (IPA) and even Imperial India Pale Ale (Double or 2xIPA) it is easy to see why this has become the iconic selection of the community. At the Great American Beer Festival it is the most entered category of all and almost every craft brewery has an IPA as part of their flagship year-round selections.
I think that he best part about IPAs is that they offer a variety of flavor profiles from citrus to pine and even floral aromas and tastes providing a little something for everyone. It took me quite a long time to venture into the IPA realm, drinking mostly wheat beers and stouts. Once you find one that you enjoy, however, it’s easy to venture out and want to try more. Just writing about them has me hankering for a cool, crisp, and refreshing grassy IPA paired with a pile of sharp cheddar cheese or a burger.
Ready to celebrate? I recommend a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA as a good starter, but I also think DuClaw’s Oz and Ithaca’s Flower Power are very approachable. Looking for something new? Favorites among friends include Victory Hop Devil, Ballast Point’s Sculpin, Fathead’s Head Hunter, and Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA. For a special occasion like this, dig up a Hopslam, Pliny the Elder, Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada Rhizing Bines or Heady Topper . Head to your favorite watering hole, get some to-go beer, or even get together with friends and savor the hoppy goodness of an IPA. When you’re enjoying your beer, feel free to tell the world via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Untappd and use the hashtag #IPAday. Want to see what we’re drinking? Check out our Pinterest pin board and follow us on Untappd: Heffenista, Hopsweetie, BattyBeerBabe.
A version of this post also appears at www.SaraBozich.com.