The history of beer is long and complicated. It is a story worth hearing too. At its core, beer is the fermented product of grains, most of which is malted (toasted/cooked). The malting and extraction of the sugars are where most of the magic happens. But the use of hops and the choice of yeast can drastically change the aromas, flavour and palate of the beer. Add to this the unlimited ‘adjuncts’ AKA anything, not water, yeast, hops, or grains means that beer can be anything. Oh yeah, did I mention that altering the chemistry of the water can change the flavour and palate of the beer too?
The most important thing to remember is that there is a beer for everyone who enjoys imbibing alcohol. In Australia and around the world, there is a large amount of mediocre, bland, beers that are notionally easy to drink in large quantities. Most of these are Lagers or Pale Ales, but the variations of beer are endless, and when you start down the rabbit hole, you’ll never want to go back.
New England India Pale Ale or Hazy India Pale Ale. NEIPA is an aggressively hopped, unfiltered IPA. And they have taken over the world. Ultimately the brewer is making you a beer that is hazy, juicy, fruity and floral. Malt flavours and bitterness are not the goals here. The haze which can be slight or almost like greeny/orange mud comes with many techniques: Dry-hopping, high-protein grains (flours, flaked oats, wheat), yeast strains, water chemistry, CO2 levels.
India Pale Ale or IPA started in England. They were essentially a Pale Ale with more. More hops, more bitterness, more malt and more alcohol. Like the English style Pale Ale, they were dry, malty, and cleansing. Now, IPA is a launching pad into pandora’s box wrapped in an enigma and somethings also wrapped in pancetta. American style IPA often focus on hops flavours and sometimes alcohol. But really, the only limit to IPA is the brewer’s imagination.