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Uncommon Knowledge: Does India Pale Ale come from India?

Silk Patchwork Sari Scarf | UncommonGoodsIndia Pale Ale (or IPA) did not get its name because it came from India, but because India is where it went. In the late 18th century, the East India Company was attempting to ship beer from England to its outposts in India. The journey took them all the way around the southern tip of Africa, and the time and the heat of the voyage would take its toll on the precious, liquid cargo. One success story, however, was October ale, a variety of beer with extra hops that was typically cellared for a couple years before serving, and which thrived under the conditions of the long journey. As more and more brewers began to see the profitability of this exportable beer, and as they began to produce it in larger volumes, it became more available and more popular domestically as well, and the popularity of India Pale Ale has continued for the following two-hundred years.

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Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

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