The latest needling betwixt the beer community isn’t a litigious feud concerning tap handles or an online flame war regarding label art. It involves IPAs. Not who brews the best one or which part of the country makes them better. It’s about whether we should celebrate IPAs specifically or, in turn, craft beer in general. Any such infighting is a shame. Somehow I fear these skiffs are less about I.P.A. and more about E.G.O.
The Beer Wench is a co-creator of #IPADay, the twit-hop-love-fest scheduled for August 4. She says the virtual event “is about creating global awareness about craft beer through the celebration of one of our most beloved styles… There are more non-IPA drinkers in this world than IPA-drinkers… Maybe they don’t even know what an IPA is.”
And with that, beer-swilling tweeters were typing hashtags in front of the letters IPA instantaneously. Which is how soon another human brand who goes by the nom de blog Samurai Artist, said he’ll boycott and snarked, “I was just starting to wonder how come there are not more IPAs, since I can never find them on tap.”
The kicker is that both beer personalities maintain Top 10 beer blogs, both are friends of mine, and both have made the issue about themselves (even when attempting to say it’s not), which is something only other diehard beer geeks would care about. Luckily, to put IPA Day into perspective, there’s a regular Joe.
Joe Tucker runs RateBeer.com and in his good-natured and unimposing way commented that, “beer is much bigger than us beer geeks… IPA is a sort of brandless brand to many beer fans across the United States. As a customer decides and drifts into brand confusion, the three letters IPA serve to inform his or her choice.”
So if newbies to craft beer aren’t so much lured by the producer but by the product, it can be argued that IPA is the quintessential craft beer style. American IPA is the single largest category in competition at the Great American Beer Fest. They’ll never be Bud IPA or any IPA Light. So by virtue of inspiring an uninitiated beer drinker and not a confirmed connoisseur to hoisting an IPA, #IPADay could welcome new friends to the craft beer table. While you’re at it, let’s show them how nicely we play together.