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Good Beer Hunting

Dec 24, 2022

Sometimes it feels like everything that can be said about beer has been said. But then something comes along that fundamentally changes the way we think about a style, or our culture. For me, that recently took place with David Jesudason’s GBH story, Empire State of Mind – Interrogating IPA’s Colonial Identity. 

Today’s hop-forward beers are so divorced from the original 18th century IPA that it’s rare to even hear the acronym spelled out – India Pale Ale. And until now, I’d never given much thought to how the marketing of IPA could reflect our modern understanding of empire – or lack thereof. 

Empire State of Mind combines personal storytelling with historical reporting, and in the space of a few thousand words, IPA goes from a symbol of craft beer’s revolution to one of colonialist invasion, exploitation and erasure. The article was mostly born out of David’s frustrations at having to educate himself about this important and dark part of British history.