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Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more confusing with IPA, along comes some post-war weirdness.

Post-war, another type of IPA seems to have popped up. A Best Bitter strength draught beer. Though weedy bottled versions of a little over 3% ABV were still common.

The colour is a bit darker than the other types of IPA. And more typical of a draught Best Bitter.

Charrington’s post-war IPA was about a similar strength to their pre-war PA. Which by 1930 was just 1034º. It looks like one of the stronger Bitters introduced after the end of the war when things were picking up. Rather than bump up the strength of their standard Pale Ales, brewers introduced new beers. Things like Fullers London Pride and Young’s Special.

In a London context, using IPA for such beers was dead confusing. As it was already established as the term for a weak bottled beer. Though it doesn’t seem to have perturbed drinkers much. Back then, styles didn’t mean much. And style guidelines didn’t exist.

I drank Charrington IPA myself often enough in the 1970s. At the time, I didn’t really think anything of the name IPA. It just seemed like a Best Bitter. Though its gravity by then had dropped below 1040º. In the 1970s, it was probably the best-selling IPA in the UK. No longer brewed in London, though. By then it had been moved up to Cape Hill after the closure of Charrington’s Anchor Brewery on Mile End Road.

John Courage was a posh bottled beer. Along the lines of Ben Truman. Which was also originally defined as an IPA, but by the 1950s was called simply a Pale Ale. As I’ve already

Whitbread beers were bottled export beers. The Whitbread one, I’m guessing was intended for Belgium. Which is where their principal export market was. Where it was sold as Pale Ale. Nothing confusing there.

London Strong IPA after WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Charrington IPA 18 1043.8 1009.4 4.47 78.54% 29
1954 Charrington IPA 19 1046.7 1008 5.04 82.87% 27
1954 Courage John Courage IPA 28 1050.4 1011.2 5.10 77.78% 20
1954 Mann Crossman IPA 20 1044 1009.8 4.45 77.73% 25
1954 Mann Crossman IPA 20 1044 1011.6 4.20 73.64% 26
1948 Whitbread Ex IPA 1046.8 1013.0 4.47 72.22% 23
Average 21 1046.0 1010.5 4.62 77.13% 25
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.