Thursday, 4 August 2011

That There International IPA Day

I remember my first trip to the US. In 2002 I headed for San Francisco, with plans to see Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles. I had no idea what kind of beer I might find, but I knew there was a scene brewing there.

I did my travelling, visiting several brewpubs in a few cities, and for the first time, drank beers that were mental with hops. Hops that British brewers didn't seem to use. Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial... Brewpubs in Vegas casinos, restaurants in San Francisco, bars in San Diego. Walk around a bit, be a tourist and these places eventually revealed themselves to me. No interwebs, no insider info.

And when I got home, I can remember waking up in the middle of the night, having DREAMED those big West Coast IPAs. The hops haunted me, gave me some kind of synaesthetic wake-up call that stayed with me and stays with me now.

There was a year or two when it all got unimportant. Then I drank Great Divide Titan at The Rake, and I fell in love with those big IPAs all over again. Moving a few years on, the British beer scene has watched and adapted, and now in London, I can drink Brodies or Kernel, their interpretations of those superbly hoppy IPAs impress and delight me. Hops prevail and our own brewers have caught the wave.

#IPAday is a superb way to catch the wave around the world. One day to capture a global experience spanning years and continents. Why not. I've been drinking variations on the theme all day, and I'm going to pop a Kernal Citra IPA open once this is posted. Job done. For today. I won't be reporting on my IPA drinking tomorrow but it'll be there next week, next month and next year.

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