Hello Brew Crew!
Bruce checking in, and I hope you are all well and gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day and Spring! In this month’s brewsletter, I wanted to write a bit about a newer trend in craft beer. All industries are subject to trends, and craft beer is no exception. From the rise and fall of Black IPAs, to the booming popularity of fruited IPAs and pale ales, to the increased interest in pilsners and sours, many things change in the world of beer.
Now, one of the more controversial trends is taking shape: that of the New England IPA, aka the Vermont IPA or “hazy” IPA.
In general, these IPAs are unfiltered and may be unpasteurized, and therefore leave the planty-hop matter in the beer, which is normally filtered or clarified out. This leads to a hazy, turbid, cloudy beer that can look like orange juice. Newer hop varietals are often used that provide citrus, tropical, fruitier flavors, leading to what many say is a brighter, less bitter beer than a traditional West Coast IPA; “juicier” is often used to describe them.
The trend is said to have started with Heady Topper, a double IPA out of the Vermont brewery Alchemist that was brewed occasionally after 2003. It gained cult status, and other New England brewers started brewing their own versions. Suddenly, within the last year or so, the craze has been sweeping across the country.
The controversy? Traditionally, most beers, including IPAs, should not be cloudy, according to various style guidelines including the Beer Judge Certification Program. Judging beers by sight is an important part of the tasting and drinking experience, and clearer beers are often preferred. Additionally, haziness can be a sign of something wrong with the beer – for example, being unfinished – so this can really cloud (hey-o) the ability to know if the beer is being brewed correctly.
Regardless of the controversy, breweries across the country are now brewing this style. In the Chicagoland area, Josh Noel of the Chicago tribune wrote a great article about efforts of local breweries Maplewood Brewing, RAM, Mikerphone, and Hailstorm to brew their own New England IPAs. From the great Beer Temple Insider’s Roundtable podcast, it sounds like brewmaster BJ Pichman of Forbidden Root may be encouraging other Chicago breweries to make a big push, too. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed Maplewood’s “juice” series.
Will the style fade? Probably, but it is not showing any signs of slowing down yet. We’ll probably include it on our tours at some point, too. If you want to read more, here are some other good resources: article, article, and article.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE INTERESTING BEER INFO!
Upcoming Beer Events
Chicago Beer Experience Beer Tours, various dates; Link
Chicago Beer Classic – May 6, Soldier Field; Link
Chicago Craft Beer Week (CCBW) – May 18-25, Various Locations; Link
Beer Under Glass (CCBW Opening Event) – May 18, Garfield Park Conservatory; Link
Here are other interesting beer stories from the past month or so:
The Chicago Lagunitas brewery is HUGE. Link.
New brewery Open Outcry Brewing Co. coming to far south side Morgan Park neighborhood. Link.
You can now find Chicago’s Revolution Brewing in Indiana. Link.
Chicago’s first pour-your-own bar, Tapster, is opening soon in Wicker Park. Link.
NO ketchup on Chicago’s hot dogs. Here’s why. Link.
Links Taproom in Wicker Park named best beer bar in Illinois. Link.
American’s favorite alcoholic beverage is beer. Let freedom ring. Link.
In a maturing market, for craft brewers to continue to grow, some brewers are going to have to shrink, per Brewer’s Association economist. Link.
Chain restaurants are going to have to put beer’s nutritional info on their menus. Link.
San Diego’s craft beer scene, with its 136 breweries, is hitting a slow patch. Link.
Craft bar chain World of Beer will pay you $12,000 to drink beer this summer. Apply by March 26th! Link.
Another ancient beer recreated. Link.
You should be pairing your food with beer, not wine. Link.
Adorable advice from Belgian beer-loving grannies. Link.
By brewing, humans have domesticated wild yeast over the past thousands of years. Link.
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Thank you for reading and your support! 😎👍🍻
Alchemist , American's favorite alcohol , ancient beer , brewsletter , Chicago Beer Classic , chicago craft beer week , domesticating wild yeast , Heady Topper , Lagunitas size , Links Taproom , New England IPA , Open Outcry Brewing Co. , pairing food with beer , Revolution Brewing in Indiana , San Deigo craft beer , Tapster , Vermont IPA , World of Beer