Hindsight is 20/20, the future is hazy

You may have noticed a new beer style floating around your favorite taprooms and bottle shops. You may have noticed that the young, hip crowd is drinking something hazy out of their glass, but this isn’t just a beer for twenty-somethings wearing scarves in the Summer. This is a beer for everyone, and it’s taking the the American craft beer scene by storm. In fact, it just got added to the Brewer’s Association official beer style list in 2018, so it’s time for us to weigh in on the new kid on the block, the Hazy IPA.

But what is a Hazy IPA? Some breweries are labeling them as NE IPAs. NE stands for North East, or is it New England? It’s a hotly debated topic in the beer world, and to be honest, we aren’t in the business of semantics, so we will just call it a Hazy IPA. Either way, these beers are light to deep gold in color and are noticeably hazy or cloudy. The haziness comes from an obscene amount of dry hopping and the addition of  flaked oats or flaked wheat to give it a smoother, creamy, coating mouthfeel and that distinct appearance.

Juicy, Hoppy, Smooth

A Hazy IPA (like our Hibisced a Girl (and I Liked it), and Ultimate Warrior) have a very juicy aroma derived from late hop additions and dry hopping. This means these beers have A LOT of hops. Our Woodshop Series #4 IPA (another one of our takes on the Hazy IPA style) has more hops than any other beer we’ve produced. This tends to scare people off because they think it’s going to be extremely bitter. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only those early boil hop additions add bitterness. This style should come off as fruity, juicy, smooth, and only slightly bitter with a mellow to medium sweetness from the malt base. Some breweries even add lactose (an unfermentable sugar) to sweeten up the finished product. These will sometimes be labeled as “milkshake” beers.

A Clear Dichotomy

WS4 and SoDank Edit Small

Hazy IPA

Appearance

  • Hazy/Cloudy
  • Light straw to deep gold

Aroma

  • Juicy
  • Citrus
  • Fruity

Flavor

  • Low to medium bitterness
  • Juicy

Mouthfeel

  • Creamy
  • Coating
  • Silky
  • Medium body

Hops

  • Heavy on late additions and dry hopping

IPA

Appearance

  • Clear
  • Gold to reddish copper

Aroma

  • Dependent on hops
  • Citrus, floral, resin, pine, etc.

Flavor

  • Medium to high bitterness
  • Malt base to offset bitterness

Mouthfeel

  • Clean
  • Crisp
  • Smooth

Hops

  • Focused on hop additions throughout, but more early additions than the Hazy variant

Style Spotlight