My intention with this blog was to tell you about what it is like for me as a beer consumer in my town Durham, NC. I’m going to do a short book review about a book that has nothing to do with Durham. The author is not even an American. He is British. I can’t even get the book in Durham. If I want it I need to order it from the UK on Amazon. I didn’t even read it in Durham when I read it. I did that at my beach house in Sweden this summer. So why write about it? Well, there a few connections with Durham and USA. The owner of the book is a Durhamite but most importantly the book is about IPA, India Pale Ale. IPA has for many years been the most popular beer style in USA. The book is called Hops and Glory by Pete Brown. Pete was crowned Beer Writer of the Year at the prestigious British Guild of Beer Writers Annual Awards Dinner in December, 2009.
IPA was originally a Pale Ale made for the British colonies in India. To survive the several months long journey it took to ship the beer to India the brewers added more hops which made the flavor more bitter. During the journey the beer matured and arrived with a higher alcohol content than when it was brewed. Thus the name India Pale Ale. Pete has recreated this journey with a cask of IPA brewed according to a traditional recipe in Burton-on-Trent, the hometown of IPA. The book is not only a very interesting historic description about the IPA and what a journey to India was like in those days, it’s also a fascinating story about the rise and fall of the British Empire in India. On top of that, it’s also a great story about Pete’s inner journey and the challenges he goes through to accomplish his mission. This is just a fascinating book that is interesting for anyone, not only beer nerds.