Yes, it’s an actual beer style, and yes, it originated in New England…
And even though it tends to go by a lot of names nowadays (hazy, cloudy, NEIPAs) the New England IPA remains one of America’s newest and hottest craft beer styles.
The best way to describe a New England IPA is that it’s everything you like from hops, all the flavors and aromas, without the bitterness normally associated with an India Pale Ale…Like, none of the bitterness whatsoever.
Well, how the hell do they pull that off? Actually, it’s really quite simple.
If you add the hops after you are done boiling, less of the bittering properties are extracted from the hops, but the process will extract the aromatic oils that you do want in there!
Also when you add the hops at that later stage in the brewing process, a lot of its oils and proteins aren’t as thoroughly combined, giving the beer it’s very distinctive, cloudy appearance.
On top of that brewers make a lot of decisions to enforce this appearance including leaving the beer unfiltered and using adjuncts like oats, wheat, and sometimes rye.
Unfortunately, because of the unfiltered and unstable nature of New England IPAs, they tend to have a very short shelf life and usually require constant refrigeration. Because of this, we don’t expect to see a lot of craft beer’s larger breweries making this style as successfully as its smaller regional independents.
New England IPAs You Might Want To Chase Down
There are way too many fantastic beers to name in this segment, but people would probably yell at us if we didn’t start with Alchemist Heady Topper from Burlington, Vermont. After all, The Alchemist is one of the originators of this style and it still one of the highest rated beers on Beer Advocate. And Heady Topper’s big bright orange rind notes and a sweet malt base, still sends shivers down our spine every time.
Tree House Julius, another hallmark beer of this style, has a flavor profile that can only be described as fresh squeezed orange juice, sweetness and all. Tree House has delivered an absolute bench beer in this style and it’s a ‘must-try’ when you’re in the Boston area.
But great New England IPA’s are no longer the domain of New England alone…Breweries like Weldwerks out of Colorado, Aslin Beer in Northern Virginia or Florida’s Civil Society are doing amazing things with the style.
And you can check out: 5 ESSENTIAL HAZY IPA’S TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIE We think they’re all worth hunting down.
This NEIPA style is far from static. It’s quickly evolving into several different varieties from boozy Triple IPAs to the lactose infused Milkshake IPA (a whole seperate article). But one thing’s for sure, this style (or sub-style as some purists argue) is definitely not going away any time soon…
We see the New England IPA’s fast growing popularity as IPA lovers looking for a little bitterness relief. Many IPA fans are just burned out on escalated IBUs and they’re choosing juicy and well-rounded (and yes, fruity hop flavors) over the hyper-bitterness that has become associated with America’s West Coast IPA tradition.
Tree House Haze photo credit: Insurance Guy Beer Blog