Agreed, not a huge fan of this. What's with red ales anyway? Never really saw the charm in them.
Red ales can be good (esp. with rye and american yeast) when an amber doesn't really satisfy and you don't want to go to the brown/porter part of the spectrum. That said, I don't ever buy 6-packs of red ales...just get them every now and then at a bar.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that both of you had Alexander Keith's IPA. That's east cost IPA and much more in the vein of a traditional English IPA which is to say, it's pretty much pisswater that is in no way related to what the average North American would consider an IPA to be.
I was horrified the first time I drank it too.
keith's isn't really an ipa of any variation any more - though it used to be a pretty typical english ipa at it's inception (several decades ago). for whatever reason (probably profitability), hops were progressively cut back over the years, and percentages of malts were replaced by cheaper (less flavorful) fermentables (corn and/or rice), leaving the weak piss that it is today.