Today, August 1st, is a good day. Yes, it is the beginning of a new month, one step closer to the end of summer, and the birthday of a number of famous musicians: Jerry Garcia, Chuck D, Joe Elliott, Adam Duritz... you know, the big ones. But despite all this, the main reason I will be celebrating is the chance to raise a glass honoring one of the heavyweights of the beer industry: the India Pale Ale.
You probably know it better by the term IPA, or as "that bitter crap my beer snob friends like." Despite that reputation amongst the macro-brew consuming masses, it still keeps growing in popularity - so much so that it has now earned the right to its own holiday, IPA Day! But where does the madness end? Aren't there too many overly-specific celebrations out there already? Isn't this just becoming ridiculous, along the lines of Talk Like A Pirate Day or National Chocolate Cupcake Day (which ironically, seeing as I hate chocolate cupcakes, falls on my birthday)? And does this mean there should be a "Day" for every beer style recognized by the BJCP? Well, that is arguable, but here's why I have no problem with the IPA Day mania...
CRAFT BEER IS GOOD.
It's as simple as that. Take that sentence and print it on billboards, post it on the internets, yell it in movie theaters... whatever! If it brings more attention to the craft beer world, it's probably a positive thing. Sure these made up holidays can be annoying, but you know what... you don't have to observe it! If you don't like IPA's, are not a fan of the gloriousness of hops or craft beer in general, or even if you just think it's stupid to celebrate the single most popular style of craft beer in the United States, you can just NOT drink India Pale Ale. Maybe you can specifically drink other styles in protest, or just not drink anything at all. Hell, you can even drink an IPA and if anyone asks about it, you can say you are ironically drinking IPA today, knowing that it's IPA day, and you think that's a dumb thing, but it's not going to stop you from drinking that one good beer on the menu.
However you choose to approach it, just remember that it never hurts to try new things. So take this opportunity to order that local IPA on tap at your favorite restaurant tonight, or buy a six-pack and share it with some non-crafty friends. If you're at a loss, check out one of these events in the New Orleans area:
- Abita - Specially hopped Jockamo IPA at The Bulldog (Uptown and Mid City) and other locations, 6-8pm
- Avenue Pub's IPA Day - Festivities w/ rum barrel aged IPA from NOLA Brewing and much more!
Just know that I will happily be imbibing some excellent IPA's this evening, with or without you. But the one thing I've learned in all my years is that beer is always better enjoyed with others... so if you're heading to the Avenue Pub tonight, come say hello and feel free to buy me a NOLA Hopitoulas. You may just learn to appreciate it something new... and that makes for a very good day.
* - not recognized as a Federal holiday**
** - yet