The India Pale Ale, or IPA as we know it today, is quite possibly the most popular and versatile craft beer style in America. Developed to exploit the preservative qualities of hops and alcohol (and used to supply British troops in the late 1700s), the IPA has taken on a whole new life in the early 21st century under the creative supervision of adventurous brewers.
While the overall trend has skewed toward embracing the more extreme elements of over-hopping (for example, Stone Brewing’s Ruination), the IPA has also been translated into session styles like Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA and The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, a cloudy, citrusy New England IPA. Then, of course, there are Double IPAs and Triple IPAs, both with increasing amounts of hops, as well as Black IPAs, which utilize darker malts usually found in porters and stouts.
One of the newer entries into the IPA family of beers is the Milkshake IPA, which is brewed with lactose, pectin, or oats for a full, chewy body. Fruit, vanilla, or other non-fermentable sugars tend to be the key flavoring ingredients, giving the beers a sweet profile. The first-ever version is attributed to Swedish brewery Omnipollo, but it has since been adapted by dozens of U.S. breweries.