Hazy IPAs are Here to Stay
Craze With the Haze
Let’s talk about the trend taking the craft beer industry by storm… Hazy IPAs! This style has become so popular that Drizly, an alcohol delivery app, reports that in 2020 they had a whopping 761% increase in year-over-year sales growth, with hazy beers making up 20.8% of the IPA share on the app. So what makes the hazy IPA so special?
Well, while there are over 100 beer styles, these four ingredients are necessary to brew every style.
However, it depends on the kind and quantity of each ingredient used as to what the style is. For example, the brewing process of a hazy IPA differs from that of a West Coast IPA. This results in a less bitter, more aromatic beer. Thanks to the addition of grains like wheat and oats, the mouthfeel is much creamier and smoother than most beers. Beer lovers and non-beer lovers alike have fallen in love with this style, and it’s clear that the haze craze is here to stay.
So let’s get into the origin of this phenomenon, and everything else that makes a hazy a hazy, so you can flex some beer knowledge on your friends!
History Behind the Hazy IPA
While the first IPA dates back to the 18th century, this new tropical, juicy IPA style began about a decade ago, making it relatively new to the beer scene. The hazy would never have been possible without the creation of the pale ale. At the time, the British had control over India, the center of European trade due to the sea route that connected India and Europe. The English sailors grew thirsty on their six-month journey and had a craving for beer. While the beer the English consumed fared well in a cooler climate, it wasn’t ideal for drinking in the hotter Indian weather. So the British began using coke to dry-roast malt, which made the beer a paler color, hence the name. To preserve the beer during the sea voyage, the British added hops to the barrels. This allowed it to sit for over 6 months on the water, and it developed a delicious taste leading to the India Pale Ale we know and love today!
That’s enough about the IPA… let’s talk hazy!
The first-ever Hazy IPA, “Heady Topper,” created by The Alchemist’s John Kimmich, was served in 2003 at the Vermont Pub & Brewery in the US. John Kimmich learned about craft beer from the owner of the brewery, Greg Nooran. He developed the yeast that gives the classic “Heady Topper” its identity.
With the yeast not sinking to the bottom, the beer has a “cloud-like haze” and the perfect amount of smoothness! Created in Vermont, many refer to this iconic beer as a New England IPA or NE IPA.
Now that you know the history behind the IPA and the NE IPA, let’s discuss the differences between the bold and hoppy West Coast IPAs compared to the more fragrant, juicy New England IPAs.
West Coast IPA Vs. New England IPA
A common debate among beer lovers is West Coast vs. East Coast. The differences between these two styles are a direct result of the brewing process.
During brewing, hops get added to the boil kettle when the beer is hot. The heat brings out the intense flavors of the hops, leading to a much higher bitterness level. After fermentation, hops get added again, which enhances the aromas. The amount of hops added during the boil and after fermentation is equal. Known for their bold flavor, West Coast IPAs have flavor profiles of grapefruit, pine, and citrus.
Characteristics of A West Coast IPA
- Clear to Slight Haze
- Gold, Copper, Red/Brown
- Aggressively Hopped
- Dry Finish
New England IPA
Unlike the West Coast IPAs, hops get added at the very end of the boil or during fermentation. When hops get added during fermentation, it’s known as “dry-hopping.” Adding hops to the cooled wort extracts more of the tropical, fruity aromas and reduces the bitterness level. The distinctive cloudy haze can be attributed to a few things. Brewers use lower flocculating yeast to ferment the beer because it stays in suspension instead of dropping or rising to the surface. After fermentation, the beer is not filtered like it is with other styles. The use of higher-protein grains like oats and wheat also adds to the hazy appearance. To create the creamy and smooth mouthfeel of both NEIPAs and Milkshake IPAs, many brewers use lactose or milk sugar.
Characteristics of A Hazy IPA
- Intensely Aromatic
- Creamy Mouthfeel
- Tropical Citrus
Now you may be wondering… why did hazy IPAs recently gain so much popularity? Well, let’s just say, if you’ve tried a hazy before, you’ll know why it’s a favorite of many. “Juicy” is a common word to describe a hazy because of the bold, fruit-forward flavors and the cloudy appearance that looks similar to fruit juice. The low bitterness levels have set this style apart from the rest. It created an option for those who don’t love beer, while still delighting the palettes of serious beer lovers.
Drizly had a record amount of sales during 2020 due to the amount of IPAs they sold. According to Craft Brewing Business, “the overall IPA category accounted for a 19 percent share of beer sales on Drizly.” Paige Guzman, the Chief Marketing Officer of Lagunitas, says that consumers drank more than double the number of hazy beers in 2020 than they did in 2019.
This haze craze is just getting started, and more brewers are dipping their feet in the hazy pool. As a brewer, how can you stand out from the rest? Sam Richardson, the founder of Other Half Brewing, says that “the biggest thing for IPA producers is hop selection.” Depending on your demographic, it’s important to choose hops that fit the flavor profiles you’re trying to develop. Many brewers are also coming up with a unique spin on the classic hazy IPA by adding various ingredients to create creamier brews, like Dogfish Head Brewery and their new Hazy-O! IPA with various types of oat milk.
Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Founder and Brewer, says, “Hazy-O!…is brewed with FOUR different types of oats: malted oats, providing cloudiness; rolled oats, creating silky mouthfeel; naked oats, providing a subtle toasted and nutty flavor; and oat milk to amplify the haze and add to its silky soft, creamy mouthfeel for a beer that is incredibly juicy & hop-forward while being smooth and super sessionable!” If that doesn’t make you want to try this unique hazy, what will?
Top Hazy IPAS of 2021
Now that this beer style has become the hottest drink on the market, it may be hard to pick your favorite! There are so many options to choose from, and if you’re not familiar with the style, it may be difficult to figure out what to try. Untappd, the largest beer database and one of PourMyBeer’s partners, allows users to rate beer. With 1 billion users, it’s hard to find a beer that hasn’t been rated! Below is a list of the top 5 hazy IPAs from Untappd.
Although hazy beers are a true crowd-pleaser, if you’re more of a sour lover or West Coast IPA drinker, we’ve put together this list of the top beer styles to try each season!
A few favorites from Our team!
If you’re more into brewing in the comfort of your own home, check out this recipe and try brewing your own Hazy IPA. It could end up being your new favorite!
Popular Hazy IPAs from our Fam Members!
Cova Brewing Company
Norfolk, VA – 18 Self-Pour Taps
Cova Brewing Company is a family-owned business focusing on brewing the most delicious craft beverages. They focus on specializing in innovative brewing techniques and combining unique flavors to bring their guests the best beer!
Intergalactic Crowdsource Hazy IPA
Formerly referred to as “Hazy 3.0”. We launched a series of 5 hazy IPAs and turned to our customers for help figuring out which hazy was the best! The crowd voted and told us which of our early Hazy IPA’s they wanted to see come back to the COVA tap wall and this one was selected as the winner!
Brewed with Galaxy and Callista hops, this IPA is a bold expression of tropical passionfruit with an enhanced mouthfeel thanks to the use of wheat and oat malt.
District Brew Yards
Chicago, IL – 40 Self-Pour Taps
District Brew Yards is a craft beer lover’s paradise! With a collection of four brewers under one roof and 40 self-pour taps, you will be able to sip on delicious, high-quality, local Chicago beer. Stop by District Brew Yards if you want to experience a unique drinking experience and a friendly atmosphere! Below, read about two hazy beers from two of the different brewers at District – Bold Dog Beer Co. and Burnt City Brewing!
Bold Dog Beer Co.
Who’s a Hazy Boi? Double Dry Hopped IPA
Awwww, who’s a hazy little boi??!! Who wants a little Simcoe and Citra treat??? No need to play dead, or roll over, we’re giving you a nice little hazy surprise in your bowl today. You’ll get your daily dose of juicy fruits evened out by just a whisker of grapefruit & pine bitterness (It’s still an IPA after all). Best enjoyed super fresh while walking on your hind legs or sitting pretty.
Burnt City Brewing
Zombie Luau Passion Hazy Passion Fruit Hazy IPA
Daydream of tropical climates with this hazy IPA packed with pineapple-forward hops and passion fruit juice. Brewed with Sabro, Ekuanot, and Chinook, Zombie Luau is sweet and pleasantly tart with a luscious texture.
Union 32 Craft House
Eagan, MN – 32 Self-Pour Taps
Union 32 Craft House was the first self-pour establishment to open in Minnesota. Each one of their 32 self-serve taps pours local craft beer from Minnesota. They also have about 5 or 6 taps of their own beer for customers to drink as well. Take a look at Union 32’s best-selling hazy IPA below!
There and Back Eagan Hazy IPA
Mountain Top, PA – 14 Self-Pour Taps
Lanahu Ales brings the taste of Hawaii to residents of Pennsylvania! Through Aloha and science, owners George and Amy, are brewing up some delicious beers! Take a look at two of their best-selling hazy IPAs on tap below!
Twisted our mash around a bit for this one. Used Simcoe and Citra in the kettle with only a few minutes to go in the boil. DDHed with Simcoe and Citra using a new and more efficient dry-hopping method.
Tasting Notes: Notes of Jasmine, Kiwi, Green Apple, Mandarine and Wild Strawberries.
New mash composition and methodology. Kettle hopped exclusively with Galaxy Hops. DDHd with Galaxy Hops using a new and more efficient dry-hopping method.
Bursting with bright passionfruit aroma and flavor, good citrus lemon peel backbone, and a whisper of popping grape candy finish.
Don’t forget to share this beer knowledge with your friends!
Here When You Need Us!
Now you’re a true Hazy expert and are ready to go out there and explore the world of hazy beers! If you have any questions, or if you are interested in starting your own self-pour setup, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Feel free to click the button below, and someone from our team will be in touch shortly.