So yesterday was National IPA Day (#IPADay, if you were following on Twitter), a day which was devised to celebrate one of the iconic beer styles in world. Social media was exploding with anticipation, and in some arenas loathing, as the day crept closer. I have to admit, I got a little kick surfing through Twitter conversations watching people espouse, debate, and indeed for some, decry, a day that by its very inception was meant to unite craft beer drinkers.
I found it interesting that although the day had it’s detractors (including one Twitter notable who was trying to shout down the day with the fact that it was also National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, calling IPA day “vacuous and shallow self-promotion”) some of the things that I found myself shaking my head at the most were its supporters, who for the most part, didn’t seem to be able to agree on what the actual purpose of IPA Day was. Let’s look a few points of view I found floating around the Twittersphere.
“IPA Day is a chance for people who don’t normally drink IPAs to enjoy the style.”
In some cases I suppose this could be true, but to be honest I believe the truth of this statement is solidly going to land on why a person doesn’t “normally drink” IPAs. While it’s true that a person who occasionally drinks an IPA might be more prone to have one on IPA Day, I believe that for the people who don’t drink them because they don’t like them, this day isn’t going to push them over to the hoppy dark side.
A person who doesn’t like hoppy beers, if given the option, will not try an IPA just because it’s IPA Day. He’s going to order what he normally orders and be done with it. If someone walked into the bar I was at last night, where all 24 taps and the cask were IPAs, he only had four options. One, have an IPA. Two, order a bottled beer of something he liked. Three, stay but don’t drink beer. Four, leave. The choice would depend very much on the person (with possibly a little help from a friendly bartender), but note that three out of four of those options involve NOT drinking an IPA. So the what is the possibility that someone who doesn’t like IPAs would order one? The magic eight ball says, “not likely”.
As a matter of fact for some, IPA Day can be an overall deterrent. Tracey doesn’t particularly like hoppy beers, so she just opted out at last night’s DCBaWL event. And to flip it, if someone does occasionally like IPAs is it a style that really needs its own day to afford someone the opportunity to have one, after all, it’s not like you DON’T run into IPAs everyday. National Rauch Bock Day. Give me a call when that comes around.
“IPA Day is a chance to raise awareness in the non-craft beer community”
I’ll be honest up front, I’m not sure how much awareness days like this spread OUTSIDE the craft beer world. I’m sure that non-beer people who follow me on Twitter saw my Tweets, but in this age of quick information I’m sure most of them just went on to something they knew and were more interested in (like when the new Doctor Who season is starting?), instead of taking the the time to find out what the hell I was talking about. No, I believe for most “Joe Six Pack” types, yesterday came and went smoothly with out the letters IPA creeping into their awareness.
This opinion of mine is supported a bit by the fact that some people inside the craft beer world didn’t know it was IPA Day. I saw a couple of parties walk into the bar last night (you don’t walk into this place and drink bud, miller or coors) and wonder why it was so packed, a quick look of surprise dancing across their face when they were told it was IPA Day. In fact, I’m going to stop by Stateline on the way home today. I’ll take an informal poll of its employes and see how many of them knew it was National IPA Day yesterday. I’ll post the results in the comment section below.
“Encourage non-craft beer drinkers to take a break from their normal beverage routine and join the collective toast on August 2nd. Set the goal of converting at least one person, if not the whole world of drinkers, into an IPA lover!” – This is directly from the IPAday.org website.
This would seem like a worth while and noble goal but, and this is just my own personal opinion, while I applaud the notion of introducing people to “good beer”, I always caution people that this a process that involves baby steps, rarely sledge hammer type Epiphanies. And sadly, the current trend in the American craft beer market is actually working against this goal as very few (if any) of the high alcohol hop bombs that were on tap last night would I consider to be good candidates to hand a bud drinker in the hopes that I could convert them. Better to leave that for National Amber, Golden, or Pilsner Day.
“IPA day is a chance for craft beer lovers to celebrate a classic style”
While some might argue (and some did) why we need such a day , this is the reasoning that makes the most sense to me. Last night I was surrounded by fellow members of the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers (as well has a hoard of other craft beer devotees – the place was PACKED), trying IPAs we’d never had before, revisiting some we truly love and discussing ones we’d had in the past that we enjoyed – and admittedly, some we did not.
Do we really need a National IPA Day to do that? No. But we have one, so why not take advantage of it. With that, regardless of some of my mixed feelings about the day, I’d like to tip my hat to Ashley Routson (@TheBeerWench) and Ryan Ross (@RyanARoss) the co-founders of National IPA day for all their hard work and effort. And thanks Two Stones Pub for celebrating it with their usual awesomeness (The Stone Ruination, Double Dry Hopped was insane!).
Time for another beer….one lightly hopped.