India Pale Ale is a distinct style of beer
and is characterized as a sparkling pale ale
with a slightly higher level of alcohol
than a typical Pale Ale; the hops lending it a distinct bitterness.
The creation of India Pale Ale during the 18th century was the result of tremendous, efforts by British brewers to overcome a difficult problem: shipping to the British colony of India resulted in the arrival of flat, sour beer. Before refrigeration and pasteurization, the brewer's only weapons against spoilage were alcohol and hops. Alcohol and hops provide an unfriendly environment for microbes, preventing the growth of the bacteria that cause sourness. Therefore, high alcohol content and high hopping rates could protect beer from the souring associated with long storage times.