Editor’s Note: Martyn Cornell is one of the finest historians of British Brewing currently writing. He’s done more to chase down beer myths and replace them with facts than 15 beer writers combined. Specifically, he’s done a ton of work to run down the false myth of the creation of IPA. This piece is his summary of the majority of evidence he’s found with links to the other pieces he’s written. While you can get the facts and information here, you should descend down the rabbit hole and click on the links and read about everything in more depth. You’ll learn about beer history and what it takes to write about it properly. Enjoy!
Well, that was all rather too much: nearly 4,000 words and more footnotes than a Jerry Lee Lewis concert. So here’s the executive summary on what we know, what we don’t know, what we can justifiably assume and what we can’t assume about the history of India Pale Ale, and I promise to keep it to under 700 words. But first, here’s an extract from a book written in 1882, called Our own country: descriptive, historical, pictorial:
The India Pale Ale is a device wholly of the present century. In the year 1822 one Hodgson, a London brewer who had settled at Burton, brewed something like the present bitter ale, which he accomplished in a teapot in his counting house, and called it Bombay beer. A retired East India captain named Chapman improved on this, and Burton ale soon attained the celebrity that has made the names of Bass and Allsopp household words all over the world.
How many mistakes did you find in that collection of cobblers’ awls? I believe there’s not a single statement there that could be said to be correct, with, everything, including the teapot and “Captain Chapman”, unbelievably mangled. It’s a lesson for anyone who… (Continue reading this piece at Zythophile by clicking this link)