Beer Explained: What IPA and IBU Mean
Over 175 years old, IPA stands for India Pale Ale's and IBU is typically a number associated with them. A number many beer drinkers watch closely. Here's why.
You'll find three primary styles of IPA's. They fall into American-Style, English-Style and Double/Imperial. There are a few others, but those are the big three and just some of more than 100 beers and ciders to sample at the Cedar Rapids Beer Summit.
Let's start at the bottom of the list above. Double India Pale Ale's or Imperial IPA's tend to be the most bitter and have the highest alcohol content, by volume. Drinking these slowly might be a good idea. They also tend to be the most bitter of the IPA's. Check their IBU number. There it is, you may be saying, IBU. That stands for International Bitterness Units. The lower the number, the less bitter the beer.
American-Style IPA's are the next step down the spectrum on both bitterness and alcohol percentage. They're considered to be, in some cases, a little less bitter. The alcohol volume range is typically a little lower, though still medium-high. These are also the most likely group to include IPA's that are fruity or citrus-like.
English-Style IPA's are the least bitter but still have a bitterness described as medium-high by IPABeer. They still pack an alcohol punch too, on the medium-high side. Enjoying one and think you smell a strong fruit smell? No, you're not drunk. Ok, hopefully, you're not. Fruity smells can indeed be very strong in English-Style IPA's. You might even notice flowery scents.
There you have it. Now you know why IPA and IBU go hand-in-hand. Try out a bunch of IPA's and all kinds of wonderful craft beers and ciders at the Cedar Rapids Beer Summit on March 12. Learn more about beers available and the event itself here and get tickets now. They're just $30 in advance for unlimited sampling. We'll see you there!