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Mitchells & Butlers launches first-ever IPA Festival

Within the continuing resurgence of customer demand for real ale over the past few years, Mitchells & Butlers has now noted a marked increase in the number of customers ordering India Pale Ales. For example, in Nicholson's pubs across the country, which have a seasonal programme of guest ales, IPAs are proving to be incredibly popular.

IPAs were originally produced in the early 18th century for the British troops in India. Brewed with vast quantities of hops to preserve the beer and enable it to reach India in better condition, the ales were of high alcohol by volume (ABV). Although the style eventually fell out of fashion, the last few years have seen a broad range of interesting hops become available as a worldwide passion for craft beer has been re-ignited.

To celebrate the increased popularity of IPAs, which shaped the course of British brewing history, Mitchells & Butlers is launching an India Pale Ale festival fortnight on 24th August. IPAs from 26 different breweries, with many exclusive to this festival, will be available in Nicholson's pubs, Vintage Inns, Metro Professional pubs and Ember Inns. Some ales have never been brewed before, such as Brentwood Pacific Pale. Also on offer will be Liberation IPA, Cropton Red IPA, Rudgate IPA, Moor Pacific IPA and their Illusion Black IPA, Tony Hadley's IPA, and Inveralmond 3 Witches. The Itchen Valley IPA is brewed with two new New Zealand hops that only touched UK soil for the first time in July.

Nicholson's pubs, which will take delivery of over 1,000 firkins of different IPAs into its 80 pubs nationwide during the festival, will list all the festival IPAs while the other brands will offer a mix. The unrivalled list will include 33 different hop varieties and different styles to help showcase the category, from traditional English ales to those brewed with worldwide hops, including Black IPAs, which is a recent style developed in the United States.

Ben Lockwood, marketing manager for Nicholson's, comments, 'IPAs have proved a phenomenal success since being introduced to the Nicholson's guest ale programme over 12 months ago. Great credit must go to the breweries that we've worked closely with, who continue to produce diverse and interesting flavours that leave our customers wanting to come back time and time again.'

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