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Brewer's Blog - The Haze Craze aka Hazy IPA

Brewer’s Blog 3/25/2018 – The Haze Craze

     It’s been a little over a year since we brewed our first New England-style IPA – Sunny D – a hazy, hoppy ale featuring experimental “orange creamsicle” hops and a healthy dose of orange zest.  We (apparently) had dabbled with the style a couple of years prior to that with beers like Bog Frog and Blueberry Haze.  Those were IPAs brewed with a bit of wheat and oats in the grist and a lack of focus on clarity and bitterness.  Fast forward to 2018 and the hazy IPA is an emerging beer style that is redefining the entire craft beer industry.

     The explosion of hazy IPAs have stirred much debate about fads versus trends in the craft beer industry.  Fads come and go, but trends grow, mature and become increasingly complex.  Hazy, or New England-style IPAs are surely a trend, and a trend that is likely to stick around for a good long time.  On March 20th the Brewers Association released an updated version of their style guidelines, and those guidelines surprisingly included “juicy or hazy pale, juicy or hazy IPA and juicy or hazy double IPA.”  The BA is typically slow to promote new beer styles, but the speed at which they updated their style guidelines speaks to how these hazy IPAs have been embraced by both consumers and brewers alike.

     For those of you not intimately familiar with these beers, the style has deep roots in the New England brewing community with breweries like the Alchemist, Hill Farmstead and Trillium.  These beers are IPAs in only the loosest of terms – they are generally light-colored, quite hazy, low bitterness ales that have a significant portion of wheat and/or oats in the grist and fermented with one or two particular yeast strains.  The hop profiles tend to lean almost exclusively to the juicy, citrus and tropical profile with varieties like Mosaic, Citra and El Dorado being preferred.  Most of the classic IPA hops (Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, etc.) are actually considered by many to be inappropriate for this style.

    As brewers, the Sunriver Brew Crew really appreciates the diversity that this style brings to the IPA world.  There are so many ways to make these beers interestingly unique and over the top delicious.  We have committed to having this style be a permanent addition to our draft rotation in our pubs and will regularly send draft beers of this style into our distribution network for outside sales.  Looks for beers like Vermont Vacation, Back to Burlington and Parkes and Wreck at better pubs and taphouses throughout Oregon.

Brett Thomas
Director of Brewing Operations