12 Best International IPAs of 2022
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the American IPA ranked as the most checked-in style on Untappd in 2021, finishing as number one on the list for an astonishing eleventh year in a row with over 7.2 million check-ins in 2021. In fact, we recently ranked Untappd's 12 Best American IPAs of 2021. The American IPA is a classic, ubiquitous style that continues to make its mark in United States history. But it's important to remember that the style India Pale Ale actually originated in Britain. And even today there are many brewers making fantastic IPAs around the world with homegrown ingredients from England to Scandinavia to New Zealand.
A Brief History of the IPA
There are several variations on the exact history of India Pale Ale. But the most popular historical version takes us back to the British Empire in the 1780s. After colonizing India, the Brits found it difficult to brew beer because of the hot temperatures. As a solution, they decided to ship beer from home. But asking beer to make a six-month voyage on a ship fraught with perils was…well, quite an ask.
To solve this problem, a London brewer—George Hodgson from Bow Brewery—crafted an overly hopped beer called October ale. The result? Not only did the beer survive the expedition, but it also actually improved in taste! Who woulda thunk!?
Thanks to Hodgson, brewers had the foundations of the IPA.
A Brief Look at the IPA Today
Interestingly enough, the style started to lose popularity with the invention of refrigeration in the 1830s. But good ol' American craft brewers lifted the IPA out of forgotten beer lore when the American craft beer movement began to gain steam in the late 1970s.
Today, as we all know, the American IPA style ranks high on every hop head's list. Often defined by a balancing bitterness, American IPAs are floral, fruity, citrus-y, and piney, thanks to those uber popular American hops.
Wait, What Is the Difference Between American IPAs and International IPAs?P
That is a great question. And can have a couple different answers. But the general rule of thumb: An IPA's country correlates with the origin of its ingredients.
For example, an American IPA features American hops.
An English IPA, probably one of the most common international IPA styles, features English ingredients.
Meaning it actually differs widely from its American counterpart. More like a strong version of a pale ale, English IPAs are characterized by earthy, floral English hops while English yeast adds a nugget of fruity flavors. Additionally, malt plays a bigger role in English IPAs. All together—the distinctive English malt, hops, and yeast—complement each other nicely for a balanced malty and bitter style that pours a deep gold color.
Another variety worth noting is the New Zealand IPA, which also relies on its country's commodities. Mainly, New Zealand hops such as Rakau, Riwaka, and Eclipse (one of Hop Culture's most exciting hops of 2022). Or Southern Hemisphere IPAs, which can feature hops from Australia or New Zealand.
We've also seen a few Nordic IPAs pop up on the market. Typically brewed with Kveik yeast, a Norwegian yeast strain, Nordic IPAs have become popular for their often fruity, farmhouse-like characteristics.
Now, it's worth clarifying that the type of IPA is not mutually exclusive to its brewer. For example, an American brewer can certainly make an English IPA. Likewise, a British brewer can make a New Zealand-style IPA. And that applies for any international style. What's most important is the provenance of the products used to brew, not exactly where the beer is brewed.
Make sense? Maybe it's just easier to take a look at the list!
Here are Untappd's 12 Highest-Rate International IPAs of 2022
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