Want to drink an IPA but don’t feel like having all that hoppy bitterness speedbag your tastebuds? We get it. That’s where the Hazy IPA comes into play. The best hazy IPAs are fruit-forward and juicy, with a rich mouth feel and enough hopped-up body to shake up your palette but very little of the bitterness that you might expect from similarly styled beers.
The best hazy IPAs — also known as New England IPAs because of their Northeast roots — strike a surprisingly solid middle ground between easy-drinking summer lagers and boozy, winter-minded imperial stouts. Where did they first begin? Well, a brewer by the name of John Kimmich of Vermont’s famed brewery The Alchemist tweaked an IPA recipe by not filtering or pasteurizing his beer. That approach provided the beer with its hazy look now beloved by Untappd users and beer Instagrammers nationwide. Other breweries got in on the action over the years and The Brewers Association added the New England IPA to its style guide in 2018.
The trademark haziness of hazy IPAs comes from select (safe-to-drink) yeast strains left floating in the beer. They also feature massive amounts of hops, added to the beer after initial fermentation, commonly known as “double dry-hopping,” which removes bitterness and adds citrus flavor and aroma. Different hop varieties chip in different attributes, be it flavors like orange or aromas like pine.
More hops also equals a higher ABV and a richer mouthfeel: You’ll want to take your time savoring your hazy IPA on a breezy summer night. They’re best paired with relaxation and good conversation. You know what else goes great with a good hazy IPA? Another hazy IPA and a friend to share it with, of course. These are our favorites to enjoy right now.
It’s not a list of best hazy IPAs without The Alchemist. Most hazy IPAs are best enjoyed from a glass, but The Alchemist’s coveted and (at times) hard-to-find beer is best enjoyed right out of the can. The instructions are right on the label, after all. It’s a double IPA made with six different types of hops, bringing along with it notes of orange, pink grapefruit and pine. It clocks in at 8 percent ABV, but it drinks much more easily than that. If you see some at your local craft beer spot, grab it. Chances are, it won’t last long.
Anchor Brewing’s flagship beer is still, after all, these years, the famed Anchor Steam Beer, a rich amber lager. But like many of its counterparts, Anchor Brewing is embracing the world of hazy IPAs with this distinctly tropical beer. It features hints of pineapple, passionfruit and guava come as well as some eye-catching branding — a solid way to ensure your beer doesn’t get lost in a sea of Bud Lights.
All right, all right, all right. Boulder Beer’s Hazed and Infused really is meant for good, easy “livin,” and that’s just a fact. It’s a session IPA, with all the hops of a typical India Pale Ale, but a lower ABV and a crisp finish for, well, long (responsible) drinking sessions under the sun. It’s unfiltered, hence the “Hazed” designation. Centennial hops (one of four different hop varieties used here) give it a pleasantly bitter finish alongside floral and piney notes.
If ever there were a brewery to count on if you want a standout IPA, it’d be Brooklyn’s Other Half. They’ve built a fervent following (and expanded up and down the East Coast) on the strength of massively hopped-up masterpieces like Green City. This beer manages to be both fruity and creamy on your palette, thanks to both the double dry-hopping process and the use of oats. It’s a stunner of a beer, and deceptively easy to drink, even at seven percent ABV.
So named for the “hazy” legends and tall tales surrounding the mythical Batsquatch monster of Mt. St. Helens, Rogue’s Batsquatch is a hops-filled punch to the palette, in a good way. It’s also a surprisingly refreshing summer sipper thanks to the use of Mosaic hops, which give it plenty of berry or blueberry-like flavor. Rogue recommends pairing this alongside nachos, rice dishes or burgers, so fire up the grill, crack open a can, and get cooking.
Breweries like Other Half and The Alchemist have developed a cult-like following for mouthwatering IPAs, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids has also been quietly building a hops empire of its own. Brewed out of Vermont, the Sip of Sunshine is a fine homage to the land that started all things hazy. Pair it with aged cheese or fresh summer greens to bring out the smooth orange flavors. The resinuous finish (it’s the hops at work) also pairs well with spicy Thai food. There’s your next summer meal and beer, all sorted out.
The breadth of IPA styles dreamed up by New Belgium is impressive enough to have any beer lover chomping at the bit to try the latest and greatest from the innovative Colorado brewer. The Voodoo Ranger name graces five other IPAs in the brewery’s rotation, after all. This one is a special standout, though. Orange and grapefruit flavors fit right in with the warm climes of summer, while the bright tropical color makes it a mighty fine beer to have on hand as you watch the sunset. It’s about the little things, cold beer and summer evenings included.
Firestone Walker’s flagship beers are English-style ales and pilsners, but they’ve thrown down the hops gauntlet with an individualistic take on the hazy IPA. It’s the California brewery’s first hazy IPA, and they put in a year’s worth of R&D (and imbibing) before releasing it. Cashmere hops (think lemon, lime and melon) do some of the heavy lifting alongside five other hop varieties. If you want hops, you’ve got it.
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