When I read the news that NEIPAs/Hazy IPAs/Juicy IPAs are now ‘official’, I legit had a tantrum. You see, I don’t get the obsession with these brews, and the best defense I had all this time was reminding people that they aren’t real. They’re just breweries adding flour so people will buy them. They’re just lazy, unclean beers. Some taste like old wet hay with bitter hops and no real depth of flavor. No one can define them so how am I supposed to know if they’re good or not? Well, that’s over. They’re here and recognized and so I am forced to accept that they’re a thing.
The good news is, they now have a standard to go by. While personal preference wins all when it comes to sales and hype, having a guide in which to judge is helpful. In theory, it should help brewers develop recipes that meet customer expectations, and it should help consumers know what they’re getting when ordering.
So, what are the ‘official’ definitions of these beer styles?
So, for all you haze crazed NEIPA lovers out there, I have one message for you: if you wanna talk about it then be about it. Know these brews you love so much. Educate yourself and accept no substitutions. Turn away those green or grey tinted bombs. If it leaves specks of hops attached to your lips after sipping, put it down. Say nay nay to beers that don’t feel like pillows inside your mouth. Definitely discard bitter, boring, cloying brews.
RELATED READING: IPA Style: West Coast vs Northeast
And, if these beers are ‘real’ now, it’s time to start holding brewers and breweries accountable for making crappy ones.
That’s right. You all love these brews on Instagram, you wait in line for these releases, and you treat them like they’re worth their weight in gold. If you love them so much, uphold their virtue.
One of the reasons I don’t like these beers is mostly due to not being able to figure out what’s good and what’s bad because no one could tell me what they’re supposed to be. One person will tell me The Veil makes the best hazy brews. The next will tell me Tree House. Another throws in Tired Hands for nostalgia I suppose. Stop naming names, and start naming characteristics. And, when you name these characteristics, they better be whats above.
Also, don’t act like guidelines aren’t important, because they are. When you go to a bar or a brewery and see what style of beer is listed, it sets an expectation for what you’re going to receive. If you tell me it’s a Hefeweizen and it’s more of a ‘hoppy wheat ale’ I’m not going to be pleased, and neither should you. If these definitions aren’t what you thought a ‘hazy IPA’ should be, tough cookies kid. This is 2018, we’re learning new things every day.
Want to convince me to like these beers? Hold brewers accountable for making them correctly. Show me the depth of what this flavor profile was meant to have. Take your passion for this fledgling style and use it to help mold a solid representation upon which others can be judged.