It’s not a huge set, then again it wasn’t that common for beers to be labelled IPA. And the term was used very loosely, covering very different beers. I’ll prove that in a moment. Why is that? Because, unlike today, people had no particular expectation about what an IPA would be like, other than being pale and reasonably hoppy. Hard to imagine such vague desires now.
Another problem is that the classic Burton IPAs weren’t always even called IPA. Often they were billed merely as “Pale Ale”, as was the case with Bass. Whose Red Triangle (trademark No. 1 in the UK) brand Pale Ale is a notable omission from the list. As is White Shield. Weird, that. I’d expect them to have been first on the list.
In table number two you can see for yourself how varied IPA was in terms of strength, ranging from 3% to 8% ABV. Pretty difficult to lump such dissimilar beers into a single description. Which is why I’m not going to bother. Most are, indeed, pretty pale. A colour below 20 is at the pale end of British Pale Ale’s colour spectrum. The one exception is from Vaux.
Sadly I only have analyses for two of the beers in the brand table, Brickwood’s Sunshine and Hope & Anchor’s Anchor. The former is a mid-strength example, the latter towards the limp end.
|Branded IPA in 1953|
|Cheltenham & Hereford Breweries||Double Chelt||Bottled I.P.A.|
|Courage||Alton||I. P. A.|
|Abington Brewery||Double Ace||I.P.A.|
|Gibbs, Mew||Sarum Special||I.P.A.|
|Hope & Anchor||Anchor||I.P.A.|
|Campbell, Praed||Cromwell Ale||I.P.A., bottled|
|Brewery Manual 1953-1954, pages 382 - 394.|
|Bottled IPA in the 1950's|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||Price per pint (d)||Acidity||OG||FG||ABV||App. Attenua- tion||colour|
|1959||Usher||India Pale Ale||20||0.03||1032.3||1008.4||2.99||73.99%||18|
|1955||Vaux & Co||India Pale Ale||18||0.05||1032.9||1008.2||3.20||75.08%||30|
|1959||Greene King||India Pale Ale||20||0.04||1033.3||1010||3.02||69.97%||25|
|1956||Hope & Anchor||IPA||24||0.04||1036.6||1008||3.71||78.14%||18|
|1960||Brickwoods||Sunshine India Pale Ale||28||0.04||1044.7||1011.4||4.16||74.50%||25|
|1954||Courage||John Courage IPA||28||0.05||1050.4||1011.2||5.10||77.78%||20|
|1955||Bass||Pale Ale (Red Triangle)||0.04||1063.2||1009.6||7.02||84.81%||19|
|1955||Worthington||India Pale Ale (Green Shield)||0.05||1063.3||1009.4||7.06||85.15%||18|
|1955||Bass||Pale Ale (Blue Triangle)||0.07||1063.5||1003.1||7.96||95.12%||19|
|1955||Worthington||India Pale Ale (White Shield)||0.05||1063.7||1002.9||8.02||95.45%||18|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.|
|T & J Bernard's brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive|
I may still be able to drag some more material from this. I’m sure I’ve not done every beer type yet.