The Haze Craze
2017 was the year of absolutely thick fruity IPA smoothies. Some were dead good. Some were just bad. But the consumers demanded haze, and the brewers delivered.
I’ve never seen a fad catch on so quickly, and strangely, without the reflexive backlash. There seems to be a few middle-aged beer writers who hate the yogurty new IPAs, but from every corner you see small and large breweries trying to catch the wave with their own interpretation of the New England style – maximum haze, almost no bitterness, tons of fruity hops.
But when Sierra Nevada makes a hazy IPA the trend is dead, right?
Hazy Little Thing looks the part, opaque and orange, sporting a fluffy head and thick body. It tastes ultra fruity – that unnamable citrus flavor of Mosaic hops. If this doesn’t push the hazy trend into the mainstream of the mainstream for years to come, or –god willing– it will signal the end of the fad.
Personally, I’m done with the haze. Correction, I am done with the hunting for haze. There’s a certain mania that follows these beers. Every release is turned into a craze, fueled by social media and general fear of missing out. You have to drink a hazy IPA the day it was canned – always canned, why canned? – or your doing it wrong.
More than the flavors and the floaties, the manipulated scarcity is the worst thing imported from New England. Breweries like Tree House and the Alchemist before them have perfected the hype machine, and now, every brewery is trying to do the same thing. Every Instagram and Twitter is a mix of hazy IPA, pastry infused stout, and a barrel aged sour. It’s a great time for people who love queuing, but I stopped waiting in lines years ago.