This script is from the first season of Beer Notes, which you can listen to at beernotes.org.
Don’t be afraid of a little haze in your beer.
This week on Beer Notes, we’re talking about New England IPAs, a style first developed by The Alchemist brewery in Stowe, Vermont in the mid-1990s. It is a softer, hazier, juicier IPA without the bitterness or clarity of the more traditional IPAs; The brewer at The Alchemist wanted a beer that tasted good and didn’t care whether it was clear or cloudy or met the style guidelines of a traditional IPA.
In 2018, the Brewers Association released their new Beer Style Guidelines and they included, for the first time, “juicy or hazy ales,” popularly referred to as New England IPAs. These beers deemphasize hop bitterness, but showcase the hop flavor and aromas that remind the drinker of guava, melon, mango, and citrus fruit. They also incorporate relatively new ingredients to create these distinctive flavors and style.
Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy hops, used in most NEIPAs, were not released until the late 2000s, with Mosaic being released in 2010. The yeast strains are also different.
And it’s the interplay of these hops with new styles of yeast where the NE IPAs really gain their groove. The Boston Beer Company, brewers of Sam Adams New England IPA, tested yeast and hops combinations over 100 times for over a year before they settled on the perfect brew and launched it in February of 2018.
Many brewers only sell their NEIPAs in their brewpubs and at a few, select local establishments to ensure the beer is as fresh and fruity as the day it was released.
Whether you get your New England IPA at your local brewery, off the shelf at your local liquor store, or from your favorite bar, just remember that this beer, like all locally crafted beer, is the result of the creativity and courage of the brewer.
So, pick up your favorite New England IPA and drink a toast to brewers and innovation. They are what makes craft beer great and they keep us coming back for more. For Beer Notes, this is Ann McGinnis Hillyer.