Sometimes beer has better stories than wine. One of my favourites is the origin of (India) Pale Ale. This strengthy, hoppy brew was originally created in the 19th century to water British troops in India. As the Duke of Marlborough remarked: "No soldier can fight unless he is properly fed on beef and beer".
In pre-refrigeration India it was too hot to brew beer, so it was imported from Britain. But the mild, probiotic cask ales couldn't survive the rolling weeks at sea in searing temperatures and were generally sour by the time they arrived in Bombay. So our ingenious brewers strengthened the beer and upped the hop content, thus creating a robust style of beer, which survived the voyage and which also remains, coincidentally, a great food match for the hot curries so beloved of the British sub-continental ex-patriot.
Meantime's London Pale Ale, produced by London master brewer Alistair Hook, is as good as any execution of the style.
Charlie McVeigh, founder, the Draft House