Canadian IPA: A History

Discover the history of beer in Canada and how the iconic India Pale Ale (IPA) became a popular style at the turn of the 20th century. Find out how British imports, like Bass Pale Ale, influenced the taste buds of Canadian beer drinkers in the early 1900s. Uncover what made this brew so popular, and how the landscape of Canadian beer has changed since then. Immerse yourself in the past and explore the origins of this beloved style of beer.

Introduction to Canadian IPA Circa 1900

The arrival of India Pale Ale (IPA) to the beer markets in Canada in the late 19th century began a new obsession among Canadians and locals around the country. Canada, a major importer of British and European beers, mopst notably Bass Pale Ale, began to produce its own variant of the style. Often referred to as "Canadian IPA," this was a unique style of beer that has been preserved in European-style breweries to this day.

History of Canadian IPA

It is speculated that Indian-style Pale Ale first appeared in England in the late 18th century, attributed to English brewer George Hodgson, who then exported it to the colonies. It was not until the late 19th century that the popularity of Bass Pale Ale in Canada pushed the demand for India Pale Ale in Canada to a new level. While brewers in Canada began to produce more of their own beers, eventually the so-called "Canadian IPA" style was born.

A Deeper Look into Canadian IPA

The Canadian IPA is a medium to full-bodied beer, usually between 6-7 percent ABV. It is characterized by a distinct malty and caramel-like flavor, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The Canadian IPA is a pale ale with a light golden to amber color, and often a slightly fruity aroma.

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The popularity of Canada's own IPA has grown throughout the 20th century and has become a favorite among local breweries. One example was Molson, who in the early 1900's, started brewing its own version of Indian Pale Ale for distribution worldwide.

Brewing Methods for Canadian IPA

Most Canadian IPAs are brewed using a combination of English and American hops varieties. English hops, such as Fuggle, and American hops, such as Cascade, are traditionally used in the brewing process.

Another common practice for Canadian IPA is dry-hopping. In dry-hopping, a brewer uses extra hops during the brewing process for a more hoppy, floral and citrusy flavor. The yeast should also be suitable for IPA beers, typically a so-called "London ale" yeast.

Styles of Canadian IPA

Canadian IPA can be categorized according to a number of different styles, each which its own distinctive characteristics.

English-Style IPA

This type of Canadian IPA is brewed using traditional English hops, such as Fuggle and Goldings, and typically has a lighter, more balanced flavor.

American-Style IPA

The American-style Canadian IPA is brewed using American hops, such as Cascade and Simcoe. This beer has a more pronounced hop flavor and bitterness than its English counterpart.

Imperial IPA

The Imperial IPA is a strong version of the Indian pale ale, with more hops and a higher ABV (alcohol by volume). The higher alcohol content serves to provide a more intense hoppy flavor and aroma.


Thanks to the popularity of British imports like Bass pale ale, Canada produced its own unique version of India Pale Ale at the turn of the 20th century. With a variety of styles and brewing methods, Canadian IPA has flourished and become a favorite among beer drinkers today. If you are looking for a unique beer experience, be sure to try out a Canadian IPA.

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