What’s the difference between pale ale and India pale ale (IPA)?

Difference between pale ale and IPA article on Title Sussex Magazine www.titlesussex.co.uk

Have you ever wondered what IPA actually is? Did you know it stands for India Pale Ale?

So what is the difference between pale ale and IPA? Well, as you know, each beer brew has an individual taste and flavour. Whether it’s classic lagers, lighter pale ales, or bold India pale ale (IPA).

If you are not a beer enthusiast, you might find it complex to distinguish between pale ale and India pale ale – the two most popular brew styles of recent time. We are here to help.

Firstly, what is pale ale?

Pale ale emerged in the early 17th century in England. It is a beer style that typically comes with dark colours and a lighter flavour. On the other hand, IPA is a particular beer style that comes under the pale ale umbrella.

Although the similarity is prominent, some different characteristics are also evidently there. Therefore, let’s learn about some significant dissimilarities between pale ale and India pale ale.

The different origins of pale ale and IPA

The pale ale was all about the beer brewing technology revolution. In the early 17th century, beer brewers started to use lighter malt than the ancient generations, resulting in a more delicate coloured beer style called pale. Besides, the more golden malt can produce a lighter flavour that makes the hopping more prominent. In Britain, people refer to it as bitter, since the bitterness is more assertive than the traditional style.

The pale ale was the only beer into this category until another popular style called Indian pale ale (IPA) appeared in the late 18th century. It was when the British colonies had started to establish themselves in India.

The British Indian army chaps were craving an excellent beer style to fulfil their thirst. Unfortunately, nothing local was able to meet their expectations. Therefore, they primarily tried to bring the beer from their country, but it was complicated to ship, requiring a month-long voyage.

As a solution, they planned to produce the great beer locally by adding more hop and alcohol content, and from then, it became known as the Indian Pale Ale or IPA.

Tastes and varieties

Pale ale has a mixed balanced body and flavour. Since the main ingredient is hops, it appears with a happy taste. However, the authentic English pale ale provides bready notes. Different types of pale ale include:

British Pale Ale
American Pale Ale
Blonde Ale

On the contrary, IPA comes with more alcohol content and hops. Hence, it appears much more robust in terms of flavour and taste. The popular types of IPA are:

British IPA
New England IPA
West Coast IPA

Is one style better than the other?

Pale ale or IPA, which one is best? Well, both! The greatness depends on individual preference. For example, if you want something lighter, pale ale is your style. Want something bold and bitter? IPA will fulfil your thirst. Whether you prefer pale ale or IPA, AEB Group UK has all ingredients to brew your favourite style.