A Hoppy Accident

Beer PintThe burst of growth and creativity in the American craft brew scene has been well documented. There are now more breweries in the United States than at any time since prohibition – currently in the neighborhood of 2,200 and more popping up every day.

New breweries and emerging styles such as Sour Beers and Cask Conditioned Ales entering the market give beer lovers a lot about which to be excited. However, it's clear that one style has come to dominate all others in popularity: the extra-hoppy, higher-alcohol big brother of the classic English Pale Ale, IPA or India Pale Ale.

But for an accident of history, craft beer enthusiasts' demand for such ultrahoppy beers may never have come to pass.

The style was born in the late 1700s when beer sent from England to their troops in colonial India spoiled due to the heat in the ship's hold. Brewers found that adding additional hops had a preservative effect that would allow their beers to survive the steamy journey through the tropics.

The style might have been lost forever had it not been for a shipwreck in 1827 off the English coast. In the wreck, some of the barrels intended for India were damaged and sold off in London where the extra-hoppy beer became a sensation. Nearly 180 years later, that same taste for extra-hoppy beers is helping to fuel the craft beer movement.

Kowalski's Wine Shops are well stocked with such nationally distributed notables such as Bell Two Hearted Ale, Stone IPA, Sierra Nevada Torpedo and local icons Surly Furious, Summit Saga, and Fulton's Sweet Child of Vine. We'll keep our eye on the trends and the new offerings so we can continue to bring you the best the craft movement has to offer.

Selection and availability vary by market.

Featured Recipe

CAYENNE SHANDYpermalink icon

Cayenne Shandy2 tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 lemon wedges, divided
16 oz. Kowalski's Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, cold
6 oz. cold lager beer
- ice

Combine salt and cayenne on a flat rimmed dish. Moisten the rim of two beer glasses with a lemon wedge; dip in spiced salt mixture. Combine lemonade and beer in a 4-cup spouted measuring glass; stir gently to combine. Pour evenly into prepared glasses, over ice. Garnish each glass with a lemon wedge. Makes 2.

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