Gipsy Hill embarks on journey to recreate historic IPA

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Authentic: Head brewer Simon Wood (left) commissioned master cooper Alastair Simms (right) to build barrels from reclaimed wood. Photo: Emma Guscott
Authentic: Head brewer Simon Wood (left) commissioned master cooper Alastair Simms (right) to build barrels from reclaimed wood. Photo: Emma Guscott

Related tags: Hops, Brewing

A London craft brewery is attempting to create a modern interpretation of the classic IPA by ageing a version of the beer style in barrels on the river Thames.

Gispy Hill brewery in south London has teamed up with hop merchant Simply Hops to explore the possibility of producing a three-month barrel-aged IPA. The maturation period reflects the time that the beer would have taken to travel to India during the colonial period.

To create the beer, Gipsy Hill took advice from Simply Hops on what hop varieties may have been used in historic IPA’s, before visiting White Rose Cooperage to find out what wood to use for the barrels.

Aged in reclaimed wood

Head brewer Simon Wood then commissioned White Rose Cooperage’s master cooper Alastair Simms to build nine barrels from reclaimed wood – some of which date back over 120 years.

The beer was then placed into these barrels and is currently being sailed along three tour boats on the Thames for the next three months. It will then be tested at the brewery, before being packaged and made available to the public at Gipsy Hill’s ‘IPA Heritage Party’ on 9 December.

Gispy Hill co founder Sam McMeekin said that the project was “a throwback to the history of our industry”.

Modern twist on history

“This is a brewery passion project; what grew from a conversation after brewing one day, has been turned into an actual journey,” he said. “Other people have tried to recreate something similar, but we’ve done our best to dig right into the roots of this IPA tradition and discover something authentic.

“A lot of modern craft breweries are pushing the boundaries on beer, which is incredible. This project is a throwback to the history of our industry, just done with a modern twist.”

McMeekin added: “We want this to be open and accessible to as many people as possible – it’s not often you can try a traditional beer style that has been barrel-aged on boats in a truly to historic style!”

Related topics: Beer

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