The early settlers' weak cider would only keep for so long and cider makers soon began adding sugar to their juice to increase the final alcohol level. More booze in the cider meant that it kept better—both at home and for export. A handful of homemade raisins contributed fresh yeast for fermentation.
'new england' on Serious Eats
The IPAs brewed in New England don't fit into a single mold. Some hew to the British origins of the style and showcase malts as much as hops. Others subscribe to the modern American view of hops—if some are good, more must be better. Many examples walked the line between these two categories, balancing gentle hops with malt. Perhaps that's New England's stamp on the IPA style—a respect for heritage with a willingness to occasionally toss tradition into the harbor and start a revolution.