This is another post in our series on IPA variants. Today’s post is written by Denny Conn, longtime homebrewer of rye IPAs and co-author, along with Drew Beechum, of the upcoming book, “Experimental Brews” (2014, Voyageur). Links to other articles in this series are given at the end of the post.
India Pale Ale (IPA) is arguably the most popular craft beer style in America today. For evidence, all you have to do is look at the proliferation of variations on IPA. After beginning as an English style, hoppier and stronger than their pale ale, American IPAs came into vogue with the introduction of Anchor Liberty in 1975. It was the first American IPA brewed since the end of Prohibition. As the years passed and taste buds acclimated to the hoppy bitterness and aromatic fragrance of Cascade hops, it seemed a race began to make IPA bigger and more varied. First came imperial IPA (sometimes referred to as double IPA), a short step away from American-style barleywine. In short order, we were introduced to Belgian IPA, black IPA, session IPA and others. Fortunately, in the midst of madness, there’s a sane variation . . . rye IPA.
Rye is a perfect ingredient to add to an IPA. Its spiciness complements the hops. The earthy flavor is a perfect foil to the pale and crystal malts used to brew an IPA and rye adds a nice full mouthfeel that balances the hoppy bitterness in IPA. In short, rye is an ingredient that belongs in IPA!