There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding when the hell is IPA Day. Is it Thursday or Sunday or both? I am not going to lie I still remain half confused but hope by the end of this blog you and I have some clarity. Lets protein rest, Irish moss and isinglass this issue shall we.
A simple google search for ‘IPA Day’ and you come across www.craftbeer.com. Now this has to be an authority on beer right? This is an American based site that states that IPA Day is a “global celebration of beer” and falls on the first Thursday of every August. It started out as a social-media based holiday and has expanded world wide. Well this all seems legit and final. However our American friends do have a habit of claiming national events as global. This is a little harsh at the ‘World Series’ of baseball that only has American based teams was in fact sponsored by the World News Paper so hence the name. This is disputed but highlights how national rivalries and competitions can sometimes take on a supposed global outlook.
USA is the leader in the beer revolution and their most powerful weapon of propaganda is in fact the IPA. Once know as the India Pale Ale and brewed originally across the pond in the UK. The original style was was born out of a need to preserve beer on its journey to India from Portsmouth, Southern England. The hops humble Pale Ales could not sustain the trip around the Cape of Good Hope and across the equator twice to get to the “Jewel of the British Empire”. The addition of more hops and higher alcohol levels with their preservation qualities helped the humble Pale Ale arrive in India in decent form. This lovely tale of the high seas and human engineering is also disputed*, but what is not disputed is that the India Pale Ale’s origin lies in England. So we all know that American’s are the kings of ‘craft’ beer right? This is largely based on volumes and variety they produce of non-macro brewed beers. These massive volumes are driven by innovation and an outstanding variety of wonderful aroma and flavour hops that find terroir in North America. They are also the kings of other things, namely acronyms. Combine these two traits and you have the mighty IPA. Perhaps originally shortened to fit the name onto bottle packaging or just to make it easier to say. Hey the IPA is its own style and while its shares some traits with its English fore-bearers is actually quite different. Its focus is largely of the aroma and flavour hops rather than its ancestors tendency towards bittering hops. The IPA is a real American Beer and is its own style. It has become the poster beer for the revolution and helps recruit armies of Beer lovers every day. Many have had their “cloud parting, this is real beer” moment after smelling a fruity IPA.
So the IPA is American so therefore they have all the right in the world to claim a day for this indomitable style. This day is on the first Thursday of August. So this year its today, that being the 4th of August 2016. So why the confusion? Its pretty straight forward right?
Well then what is all this talk about ‘International IPA Day’? A simple google here throws up a lot of talk about a day to celebrate the style internationally on the 7th August? To highlight three of many; www.daysoftheyear.com , www.exploredrinks.com & www.travelandtourworld.com.
So were does this seemingly globally coordinated day come from? It’s not an annually devised event when the day of the month might move to be always on a Thursday like ‘IPA Day’. Is it always just on the 7th. Has the world hi-jacked IPA from the Americans? That’s the ludicrous equivalent of the world taking an American holiday like Thanksgiving and celebrating it on another day. International Thanksgiving Day! The origins of this international insurgent is not apparent. However it has got legs like a Belgian Golden Strong. So it can’t be ignored can it?
All over South Africa the day is being celebrated by bars and people that care on Thursday 4th and Sunday the 7th. Some have taken the American devised IPA day as the day to drink more of the delicious beverage and some the 7th.
So hence my confusion? However after extrapolating the whole IPA conundrum while writing this blog I am more incline to side with the 4th as its an American event to celebrate an American beer. However other countries have there own luscious aroma and flavour hops. So why cant countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have its own IPA day based on its hop harvests? We should start creating and celebrating our own identities or forever live in the shadow of our American Pioneers. Having multiple IPA days is not a bad thing right? I think Woodstock Co-Op have done the right thing in just making it IPA week. Perhaps we should then have years dedicated to styles like the Chinese calendar does with animals. 2017, the year of the Gose?
Anyway confusion over I am just going to go and drink an IPA and enjoy it because that’s why we drink beers, not so we look trendy and we certainly don’t need a day for an excuse.
Cheers to the mighty IPA. Happy IPA Day today and forever.
*An article by Martyn Cornell on www.beerconnoisseur.com reveals the truth behind this disputed origin. It kind of destroys and easy to tell romantic tale that spikes the imagination of new beer recruits. Truth getting in the way of a good story again.