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A theory about why IPAs are so popular

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by draheim, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Verified

    They taste healthy.

    Now hear me out people.

    We all know (or many of us do anyway) that IPAs taste and smell wonderful. Oh so juicy and pungent. But one thing that keeps drawing me back to the classic American IPA is the feeling that drinking them is actually good for me too. I think all that refreshing citrusy tropical goodness vaguely reminds me of drinking a nice tall glass of grapefruit or orange juice. Compare that to drinking a big, heavy barrel-aged imperial stout or barleywine. It's equally delicious in its own way, but when I drink one there's no way my mind is telling me "this is really a healthful beverage."

    And this thread isn't suggesting that beer doesn't come with its own set of health benefits, which of course are well-documented. I'm just saying that hoppy IPAs have particular attributes that cause us perceive them as even healthier than other kinds of beer. And in this health-conscious society, that gives them a leg up over other styles.

    Does anyone else out there think this theory holds water? Does anyone else drink IPAs and get a general feeling of wellness, even if it's a false one? Cheers!
  2. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Champion (905) Michigan Jun 18, 2012 Verified

    It's the xanthohumol. So yes, IPAs are good for you. Is it why they're so popular? It's not why they're popular with me. I just enjoy damn good beer.

    Also, starting about half way down, one of many bits of information on hops and their probable health benefits: http://resources.purematters.com/herbs-supplements/x/xanthohumol

    Truth is, all the ingredients in beer is healthy... craft beer mostly contains all-natural, good-for-you ingredients. Even alcohol itself is supposedly good for you in moderation (Thank God) just because it's a natural antibiotic.
    19etz55 and JimKal like this.
  3. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Advocate (570) Colorado Dec 9, 2011 Verified

    Stop drinking before lunch. The real reason is because they're delicious!
    SFACRKnight, stearns16 and fredmugs like this.
  4. kevanb

    kevanb Champion (785) Illinois Apr 4, 2011 Verified

    I just find them to be equally satisfying as any other style, yet I can drink more in one sitting than other styles, so I drink them more often, but it doesn't mean I like them MORE than other styles.
    craigo19 likes this.
  5. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poobah (1,195) Indiana Aug 11, 2012 Verified

    "All this time I've been eating chicken because I thought it was delicious. Turns out I have a genetic pre-disposition." ~ Dave Chappelle.
    DocBrewsky, Chugs13, frazbri and 20 others like this.
  6. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Advocate (735) Minnesota Feb 6, 2013 Verified

    It's because their flavor and aroma is complex, unique, and enticing, in an otherwise drab and monotonous world.
  7. They are popular for the same reason imperial bourbon barrel aged stouts are popular: American tastebuds are dead, killed by too much salt and sugar and we need the most extreme flavors available to sense anything.
  8. Scalzo

    Scalzo Savant (435) Illinois Feb 27, 2012 Verified

    Bonis, AmitC, hoppytobehere and 4 others like this.
  9. Smitty1988

    Smitty1988 Savant (385) Arizona Oct 16, 2012 Verified

    I totally agree, I think there is something about them that makes them very refreshing. If I havent had a beer in awhile, I will always do an IPA first before anything else. It is just a clean, crisp, refreshing feeling that finishes with a pleasant taste. I feel the earthyness of the pine and grapefuit rine creates that getting back to nature sort of feeling for me.
    But then again, you wont take this serious, because of my avatar...:(
    draheim likes this.
  10. That's been my practice, ever since seeing this ad on the bottom of page 1 of The New York Times, circa 1910.
    (Granted, it was a back issue - and my Prescription Plan keeps rejecting my claim :( ).
    tronester, jgluck, Etan and 14 others like this.
  11. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Verified

    You just made me cry a little bit on the inside.
  12. BigBarley

    BigBarley Savant (330) Texas Aug 5, 2011

    "I want you to show me the motherfucker that doesn't like chicken and watermelon!"
  13. highdesertdrinker

    highdesertdrinker Advocate (670) Arizona Nov 5, 2012 Verified

    That's our calling card here in 'Merica when it comes to brewing beer and it's not too heavy, and not too light, with rich, complex flavors for a reasonable price.
  14. whiskey

    whiskey Advocate (525) California Feb 25, 2012 Verified

  15. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (415) New York Jul 16, 2011 Verified

    you're onto something there... I always equated IPAs with the chile pepper obsession many have (including me).
    Under the healthy idea, it doesn't fill you up like a heavy bourbon stout... lower cals and abv, so you feel less run down.

    to quote the slogan of a local pudding company:
    "Kozy shack: for the active lifestyle"
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  16. BeerLover99

    BeerLover99 Advocate (745) Illinois Dec 13, 2008

    Interesting thread. I think IPAs are great all-access/anytime style.
    Two Major Reasons:
    1)Tons of aroma
    2)More body than BMC/lagers, BUT not too heavy/thick either.
    checktherhyme likes this.
  17. coachdicarlo

    coachdicarlo Initiate (0) Missouri Apr 20, 2012

    This. For real.
  18. fox227

    fox227 Advocate (610) California Nov 19, 2010

    There's nothing like a really fresh IPA or Pale Ale after not having one for a while. It's just a sensory explosion of delightful aromas and flavors, with a crisp bitter edge. What's not to like? I distrust people who don't like IPAs.
  19. how many IPAs did you have before you came up with this idea?
    BeerKangaroo and Nectar like this.
  20. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) California Feb 22, 2011

    I think this hypothesis holds no water whatsoever.
    n2185 and TMoney2591 like this.
  21. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Advocate (735) Illinois Apr 8, 2010

    I think they're popular because it gives the general public something to feel cool about, like they are "in the know" about beer, as in "Whoa bros, I drank a dank IPA yesterday".
  22. Not for me. I don't drink orange/grapefruit juices. I enjoy the way the hops dance on my tongue. They are always interesting to me, no matter how many I have had. Some most likely would think the same about sours.
    davelag likes this.
  23. duchessedubourg

    duchessedubourg Advocate (545) Vermont Nov 2, 2007 Verified

    I love citrus juices, but IPA's are so floral that they make me think I am drinking a glass of cologne. The few I've enjoyed were nice & bitter, but not as floral so I see where my tolerance lies.
  24. Im surprised they are popular because of that grapefruit taste. When youre a kid you go to your grandparents house and they have grapefruit juice and prune juice and you would drink it and think it was nasty. When you become an adult your pallate and tastes change but grapefruit juice ? Come on now.
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  25. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (935) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    I'd say it's because they taste fresh (and, perhaps by extension, freshness tastes "healthy"). In the world's other great brewing nations such as the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic, and (perhaps to a slightly lesser extent) Belgium, geography and history means that beer is usually being consumed as fresh as possible. The U.S. is at an automatic geographical disadvantage in this respect, but heavy hopping helps make up for that by preserving the beer and tasting, nowadays, like fresh citrus and tropical fruits. Fact is, for 98% of the world's beer, fresher is better...which is also why people have started going to great lengths to obtain the freshest (D)IPAs. Another fact is that many people need to be bashed over the head before they begin to understand.
    draheim likes this.
  26. highdesertdrinker

    highdesertdrinker Advocate (670) Arizona Nov 5, 2012 Verified

    Point taken; the "grapefruit bombs" are not my favorite personally as I skew more to the tropical, pineapple,orange, and pine side and god do I love Sucks and Hopslam!
    Bitter_Echo likes this.
  27. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Verified

    I'm with you on prune juice, but grapefruit juice? I grew up on the stuff, have loved it since I was a kid. I have never associated drinking citrus juice with grandparents. Maybe I'm in the minority on this.
  28. Growing up, grapefruit juice was seen as an "old people's drink" along with prune juice. Look, I drink IPAs and understand that they will have a grapefruit flavor. I dont mind it as much as long as its subdued and you can taste the other fruits more. To be honest, most IPAs I have had I mainly taste grapefruit and pine. Cant think of many where I could clearly taste orange and pineapple. Maybe Im not getting good IPA's I have no idea. I dont drink a lot of them.
  29. mark14580

    mark14580 Initiate (0) New York Jan 15, 2011

    Huh. I always thought it was because they tasted good.
  30. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Savant (405) Illinois Jul 28, 2009 Verified

    People like hops.
  31. Well, since "craft beer" is about 6.5% of the beer market, and IPA's were approaching 15% of the total amount of "craft beer" sold (last I looked), it does appears that people who buy about 1% of the beer in the US like hops.
  32. People like IPA's because they realize that beer can actually have flavor and aroma. I've also lost 40lbs since I started drinking hoppy beers, but that claim is open to speculation.
  33. chefkevlar

    chefkevlar Savant (450) South Carolina Apr 17, 2010 Verified

    I have at least one customer who thinks this way. He has been on a pretty strict weight loss plan and has lost around 200 lbs. He attributes it to working out 2 hrs a day, eating healthy, and drinking nothing but IPAs. He thinks it's "grapefruit juice for his blood" and that it's helped lower his cholesterol. There's no medical reasoning behind this but he uses it as a reward/motivation for working out (he doesn't drink if he doesn't work out) and so I see no reason to tell him otherwise.
    tronester and Handle like this.
  34. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,440) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    I love drinking Gubna because onion and garlic juices are super healthy. Plus it wards off vampires.
  35. I drink IPA's because they taste good. For me, it is some sort of addiction to the hops. I just can't get away from them, their smell, taste, bitterness that I so, so love. The hops, they lure me in-every time! ;)
  36. coachdicarlo

    coachdicarlo Initiate (0) Missouri Apr 20, 2012

    I would tend to agree
  37. ChanChan

    ChanChan Advocate (610) California Dec 12, 2009 Verified

    IPA's seem really unhealthy to me but I drink them because I like them!!!
  38. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Savant (405) Illinois Jul 28, 2009 Verified

    And these are for the most part the same people that frequent this website.
  39. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Savant (405) Missouri Jun 10, 2008 Verified

    Nothing wrong with having a few beers, but he's a moron if he is attributing any bit of weight loss to drinking nothing but IPA's. Pretty sure it has everything to do with working out 2 hrs a day and eating healthy.
    WBD likes this.
  40. Chris77McGrath

    Chris77McGrath Savant (325) Ohio Feb 8, 2013

    I enjoy the variety of IPAs, complex flavors, and the quest to either make or buy the perfect IPA.