After making major waves in the craft beer scene for a few years, hazy, Northeast-style IPAs are finally getting their due. On March 20, the Brewers’ Association, the guiding body for independent and small craft breweries in the U.S., released the latest update to its Beer Style Guidelines and it includes an important addition for these hazy, high-ABV brews.
The Brewers’ Association released hundreds of updates and revisions to their guidelines for 2018, but the most notable of them all is the addition of three new styles of beer: “Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale,” “Juicy or Hazy IPA,” and “Juicy or Hazy Double IPA.” This means that the increasingly popular and prevalent New England IPAs are finally added to the recognized list of beer styles and may make their way to the Great American Beer Festival.
But what is this “juicy or hazy” beer? According to Imbibe, this twist on the IPA (also often called the Northeast IPA) is not an antithesis or branch of the more familiar West Coast IPA with its notes of pine and clear, yellow hue. Instead, it emerged from East Coast breweries such as The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, Trillium, and Tree House as its own distinct thing. These beers are notable for their cloudy, almost orange juice-like appearance and notes of tropical fruits and juicy hops. They’re often simply described as “hoppy juice bombs.” They also have significantly higher ABVs than their West Coast counterparts. They often contain at least 8 percent alcohol.
So what does this mean for the craft beer lover who doesn’t live on the East Coast? Prepare yourself for the New England IPA and increasingly hazy, juicy, and alcoholic brews near you. While breweries in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont have already fully embraced this beer, similarly styled beers have already popped up in Ohio (Masthead Brewing Co.), Oregon (Great Notion Brewing), and beyond. New England IPAs from East Coast breweries may also get wider distribution, allowing people all across the country to try some of the world’s best beers.
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