Patrick McGovern is the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. In this video, he shares his knowledge on how India Pale Ales were first created and how it got its name. Following is a transcript of the video.
I’m Patrick McGovern. I’m from the University of Pennsylvania Museum, and I’m the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project.
England was spreading out all over the world. They wanted to export it [beer] to other countries. For IPAs, India Pale Ale, they would use a lot of hops in them, coming from Northern England. And then put them in a ship, and the hops would help to preserve the beers that travel to India.
You want to carry various fermented beverages by sea because that is obviously the most economic, easiest way to transport a liquid. In the process, you still have to be worried about preservation of that liquid.
And you also have some sort of a maturation that’s going on too. So, it’s not just that you’re preserving it, but it’s getting a certain amount of oxygen, and certain reactions are occurring, and you make certain new flavors and aromas in the process of shipping it over an extended distance.
That’s the origin of the very very hoppy type beers — IPAs. They just put in a lot of extra hops.
And in fact, there’s one ancient Roman writer, Pliny the Elder, that says “Humans have spent more time on trying to figure out how to preserve a fermented beverage than anything else.”
It’s been the preoccupation of our species right from the beginning, I would argue.
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