India Pale Ale was not originally brewed in India; it was brewed in Britain, to be sent to India. It was brewed by British brewers for their compatriots at the front lines of the colony. As you know, shipping beer from Britain to India would have been a difficult task in the late 1700s. Beer would have to make its way across the equator and around the horn of Africa before arriving in India—four months later.
If you haven’t been here in a while, you might have noticed BeerCraftr’s sporting a new look. I was never happy with the original design of the website, but in my haste to launch it over the 2015 Christmas break, I went with an easy out-of-the box theme that would let me get started quickly. The design was a bit dated, but it did the trick at the time. But I’ve long wanted to upgrade it to help me put my most popular content front and centre, and make it easier for aspiring home brewers to get brewing. I hope you’ll agree with me that this is much easier now.
In this second instalment of the Beer Style Guide, we build on our first style review, British bitter. If you read the first instalment, you may be wondering what the difference is between British bitter and pale ale? After all, bitter is classified as a pale ale, right? Right. But then Americans came into the mix. And when they started making pale ales, they lightened the colour, added American hops, and as a result American Pale Ales are now in a class of their own.
British bitters have a definite hop presence, but in a somewhat measured way. You’ll notice the hop flavour, but it sits atop a sweet biscuit base. These beers are not bitter by today’s standards (some Imperial IPAs out there punch you in the face with bitterness). In fact, bitters are well balanced, giving equal profile to the malt, hop, and yeast. It’s a beer designed for sessional drinking—you can enjoy two or three of these in one session and find something interesting in every sip, even the last one.