As the craft beer industry continues to evolve, brewers are constantly experimenting with new styles and techniques. A couple of years ago, a style called India Pale Lager (IPL) showed up. It sounds like a ridiculous style, but it’s actually one of our favourites. We explain why in this post.
We feel there should be more IPLs out there. It is such a great style. In this article, we’ll explore what an IPL is, its origins, some prominent examples, and why it hasn’t become as popular as other styles. Plus we quickly delve into the difference of an IPL and a Cold IPA, which for some reason has really caught on.
What is an India Pale Lager?
An IPL is essentially a lager version of an IPA. It combines the crisp, clean character of a lager with the bold hoppy flavors and aromas of an IPA. Like its IPA counterpart, an IPL is typically light amber to golden in color, with a moderate to high hop bitterness and aroma. It has a clean and refreshing finish that is characteristic of lagers.
Origins of India Pale Lager
The IPL is a relatively new style compared to others that have been around for hundreds of years. Non-surprisingly its origins can be traced back to the craft beer scene in the United States, with early examples showing up in the early 2000s. The style was initially brewed by American craft breweries as a way to showcase hop flavors and aromas in a lager beer, which had not been done before. It is difficult to really point towards an originator of the style or even beers that are regularly brewed.
Why IPL never really caught on?
Despite its unique flavor profile and refreshing finish, the IPL has not become as popular as other styles, such as IPAs or lagers. One reason for this may be the confusion surrounding the style. Many beer drinkers are unsure of what an IPL is or how it differs from other styles, such as a cold IPA or a hoppy lager, say a Pilsner (we’d say the selection of hops makes a huge difference, i.e. noble hops vs the hops from the pacific northwest). Additionally, considering how snobbish many craft beer drinkers are towards lager, it just might never stand a chance.
Cold IPA and its popularity
The closest beer styles to an IPL are probably hoppy lagers or cold IPAs. Cold IPA, on the other hand, is a new style that is essentially an IPA that has been lagered. Cold IPA tends to have a crisper finish than a traditional IPA, which makes it more similar to an IPL.
Cold IPA is currently popular because it combines the bold hoppy flavors and aromas of an IPA with the crisp, refreshing finish of a lager. The style has become popular in part because it is a way for brewers to differentiate themselves from the traditional IPA style, which has become somewhat saturated in the craft beer market. Additionally, the crisp finish of a cold IPA makes it an appealing choice for drinkers who want the hoppy flavors of an IPA without the heavy, bitter finish that is characteristic of many traditional IPAs.
And considering the plethora of DIPAs out there, with cloying sweetness and 8% ABV, a crisp, quaffable and sessionable Cold IPA is a welcome addition to the list of beer styles.
Nevertheless, we want more IPLs
In conclusion, while the IPL has not become as popular as other styles, it remains an interesting and unique style that combines the best of both worlds – the crisp, refreshing character of a lager and the bold hoppy flavors of an IPA. With the popularity of Cold IPA on the rise, it will be interesting to see if the IPL could ride its coattails and gain more traction in the craft beer market in the future.