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The Evolution of the India Pale Lager

A style born of the golden hops age, India Pale Lagers have evolved beyond just the combination of two styles. Drinkers today have choice, and brewers are exploring the breadth and future of IPL.

Ken Weaver Jul 23, 2018 - 9 min read

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Chatting with some of the country’s key producers of India Pale Lagers (IPL) quickly catches one up on the beer world’s current volatility, particularly when it comes to hops.

“I would say that the average consumer who has had Hoponius [Union] over the past six years probably believes that beer is as hoppy or less hoppy than when we first brewed it six years ago,” says Jack Hendler, cofounder and brewer of Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Massachusetts. “The reality is that we’ve doubled the hopping rate over the past six years.”

Hendler is specifically referring to the brewery’s dry-hopping additions for their flagship IPL (resulting in a 75 percent increase in total hops used when factoring in kettle additions). Hoponius Union has been a part of the brewery for the past seven years, first brewed as Jack’s Abby’s fourth batch, and has since led to many different iterations on the lager-yeast-plus-hops spectrum. The brewery was one of the earliest committed explorers of IPL, offering year-round availability plus variations, and launched a 16-ounce-can format of Hoponius in March.

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