The existence of the IPA is mainly due to the trades between the United Kingdom and its colonies. One of the most important trade routes was the one that linked the main island with India. Britain imported huge quantities of beer from india. In the late XVIII century, London-based brewer Hodgson, during one of his many travels between India and London, had noticed that some of his most alcoholic beers survied said travels with very few changes in taste. Hops are a great natural preservative, and the high alcohol percentage helped preserve the beer’s flavour.
A few years later, Hodgson’s son enterd into a rivalry with the East India Company and was forced to leave the trading business. One of the consequences of this event was a lot more traders and brewers getting in on this lucrative trade. One of the most prominent locations for brewing IPAs was Burton-on-Trent, a small town in Staffordshire, which was famous for the qualities of its beers. The local brewers decided to change their brewing methods, traditionally focused on dar and sweet beers, in order to brew IPAs. They were able to adapt their brewing methods to this new kind of beer, brewing the first beer to be officaliy known as “IPA”.
IPAs would have been a niche kind of beer forever, if not for the artisanal revolution of american craft breweries. IPAs were one of the most common beers brewed in america during saind revolution.
In the last few decades, IPAs have become very popular all around the world, with new kinds (like the Double IPA or the New England IPA) being invented.