It's interesting how this beer style has evolved. It's one of the more interesting beers - historically speaking - along with the various Belgian styles, which date back hundreds, if not thousands of years. India Pale Ale is originally a British style of beer, though it seems today that several of the many American craft and micro breweries across the country have the best to offer of this style. India Pale Ale dates back to the 19th century, when England was colonizing India. Since there was no air travel back then, everything had to be transported by boat, including beer. The journey by boat from England to India involved some temperature extremes that often would spoil the beer, coupled with the length of the journey itself. It was found that to prevent this, more hops could be added to the beer, as well as a slightly higher alcohol content. Out of this a new style of heavily hopped ale was born, which is still consumed and enjoyed by people today. Many people don't know this, but hops are a natural preservative and anti-bacterial agent. They are also great for boosting one's immune system. In recent years we have seen the emergence of Imperial (or double) India Pale Ales. These beers are like an even more souped up version of an original IPA, with even more hops and an even higher alcohol content. The body is also thicker and more stout-like (ie: imperial stout). Many craft breweries across the country are now working on triple and quadruple IPA's, which are even hoppier (and stronger) than the double imperial IPA. An example of a quadruple imperial IPA would be Dogfish Head's 120 min. IPA, which clocks in at a staggering 20% ABV.