International #IPAday. Are you raising a pint or a protest?
So the point of International #IPAday, which takes place Thursday, August 4, and has already stirred a little controversy, is to use social media (notice that the official name includes a Twitter hash tag) to celebrate IPAs and to remind the world of what has truly become America's king of beers. The day will be noted with various events at breweries and beer bars around the country (Great Divide and Odell will host events, as will Freshcraft and StarBar).
"This is not about a particular brand and it's not about the Great American Beer Festival or the World Beer Cup," says Ryan Ross, an #IPAday co-founder and marketing director for San Diego's Karl Strauss brewery. "A lot of times, events like that don't speak to the everyday connoisseur, they speak to the industry and to the brewers themselves. The concept of IPA day is more welcoming and it's a more laid back way to celebrate something you enjoy, from the brewer to the blogger to the casual consumer."
In other words, it's yet another excuse to enjoy a beer, in this case an IPA -- or India Pale Ale -- which has many incarnations, but is typically a heavily hopped style.
The concept, which was borrowed from the wine industry's #chardonnay day, is "to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide, using social media as the common arena for connecting the conversation together...To participate, share your photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, thoughts with the world on Twitter Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, RateBeer, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Untappd or any other social media platforms you may use. Use the hastag #IPADay in all of your posts and then see what others are saying by searching the hashtag."
But Ross and #IPAday co-founder blogger Ashley Routson, known as the Beer Wench, have taken some heat from beer enthusiasts -- like the New School beer blog in Oregon -- who have a few questions. What is the point of a day honoring IPAs when there are so many other styles out there gaining popularity? And why there is even a need for a day like this when so many beer drinkers already love the style?
In response, Routson penned a post saying, "Whereas it is wonderful that you (and others like you) personally enjoy kicking back an IPA every day of the week, it is important to look at the bigger picture. I hate to be blunt like this but, this isn't about you. This isn't about how you are already a craft beer advocate and celebrate and drink craft beer every day. This is bigger than that. This is about creating global awareness about craft beer through the celebration of one of our most beloved style.
"IPA Day is not just for craft beer enthusiasts. It is an ALL-INCLUSIVE event for anyone and everyone who can legally consume alcohol. For many people, every day is NOT in fact IPA Day. Actually, I am quite certain that there are more non-IPA drinkers in this world than IPA-drinkers. And it isn't necessarily because they don't like IPA. Maybe they drink wine 95% of the time. Maybe they drink corporate beer and have yet to expand into craft styles. Maybe they don't even know what an IPA is."
So there you have it. Whether every day is IPA day for you, or whether you want to drink your first on #IPAday, August 4 should be a happy, hoppy day.