Hop aboard the ‘Slow Boat to India’

- by Bill Craver

“The world, he believed, is a globe of men who are trying to reach one another and can best do so by the help of good will plus culture and intelligence.”

  • A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

These days, it seems like craft beer drinkers are crazy about hops. Their ‘Go To’ is naturally the beer style that showcases the most hops: the IPA, which is shorthand for India Pale Ale. Ironically, this beer style did not originate in India, although legend has it that the remote territory did play an important role in the IPA’s inception.

During the British Colonial Era, English brewers determined that a higher-alcohol, hoppier beer could better withstand the long and arduous sea journey to faraway destinations. Accordingly, in the late 18th Century, the East India Trading Company transported large quantities of hop-heavy beers to consumers in India. (The sailors hauling these goods across the British Empire also enjoyed a nip here and there, receiving generous daily rations of these ales aboard ship.)

British Colonials living in India and points around the globe soon developed a taste for these hoppier brews. In the years to follow, multiple English brewers began experimenting with the style, and by 1840, India Pale Ales had become a popular choice back home in England.

Fast forward to 2017 – Taproom Manager, Charles Langdale reports: “When someone walks into Legion for the first time, invariably the first words out of his or her mouth is, ‘What’s your hoppiest beer?’” Charles is quick to point out that we always have our Flagship IPA, Juicy Jay, on tap while also encouraging folks to check out our seasonal, hop-heavy offerings.

With the onset of warmer, sessionable-drinking weather, Legion is releasing just such a brew: Slow Boat to India (Session IPA, 4% ABV, 32 IBU’s). This brew benefits from a veritable cornucopia of exciting American hops that contribute bold flavors of pineapple and stonefruit along with a pleasant bitterness. Slow Boat to India is light in body, yet extremely high in drinkability.

“With ‘Slow Boat to India,’ I think we brewed a really good beer. To me, it’s like a little brother to Juicy Jay.” Associate Brewer, Scott Griffin notes. “During the brewing process, we reduced the temperature of the boil while making a number of whirlpool hop additions. This procedure ensures that volatile hop oils are not damaged or boiled off, which adds to the fruity notes of the end product.”

At Legion Brewing, we believe that today’s craft brewers stand upon the shoulders of those who came before us. It isn’t lost on us that one of today’s most popular beer styles originated at the intersection of necessity and creativity over 300 years ago. With the release of beers like ‘Slow Boat to India,’ our brewers are using their own creative juices to push this enduring style into the 21st Century…