New England-style IPAs are all the rage these days. Juicy, hazy, and thick, not exactly what one would expect in an IPA. This craze actually started back in 2004 when the Brewmaster of The Alchemist decided not to filter or pasteurize his new IPA, Heady Topper. This left a hazy product with a thick mouthfeel and intense hop flavor without relative bitterness. It took a long time to catch on, like 10+ years, but now the New England IPA is beginning to get the recognition it deserves.
It turns out that haze is actually of secondary importance to the brewers of this style. Generally, they want the marvelous, fresh hop flavors to shine through without being bogged down by bitterness. NE IPAs are brewed with a different variety of yeast that leaves behind an abundance of fruity esters that amplifies the “juicy” qualities of the hops. Another key component of the process is the late addition of hops. This requires the hops being added late in the boil, or after the boil entirely, to prevent the extraction of alpha acids.
Alpha acids plus heat plus isomerization equals bitterness. When hops are not exposed to heat, their alpha acids don’t contribute as much to the final product. Voila! You have maximum hop flavor minus bitterness.
This style is not without its haters. There are those that believe that the world is nothing without rules and standards. Structurists, if you will. They don’t speed, they always tell the truth, and they never want their IPAs anything but crystal clear. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, they say! Well I say variety is the spice of life! So let there be haze.
Stillwater Tangerine Haze
This Wild IPA clocks in at 7% ABV and boasts earthiness and tart citrus. That haze is bringing you some complexity with wild strains of yeast and tangerine hops. Refreshing, bright citrus flavor abound with very little bitterness. Wild yeast strains contribute some sourness. Give this one a try.
The Veil Toof Ache
This version of the NE IPA is made with Simcoe, Columbus, and Mosaic hops. They also add orange juice to this brew, which further perpetuates the “juiciness” of the style. 6.3% ABV and a jolting amount of fresh hop flavor will leave you wanting this again and again.
Technically, this beer hails as a white IPA. Cool, but it has all the trappings of a hazy New England IPA. Tons of citrus, moderate bitterness, thick mouthfeel…if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck…well you know.
Half Acre Gone Away IPA
Tons of fruity esters and huge citrus flavors dominate this beer. It’s been known by many names but the recipe remains the same. Good thing too, it’s delicious. The 7.0% ABV makes things fun too.
Pioneer Hop Whammy
This true New England style IPA is wet-hopped to add even more fresh hop character. Citrus and pineapple are the prominent flavors with added stone fruit. Low hop bitterness and a medium body make this beer a “pioneer” in the industry. I’m the worst.