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Craft Beer Times | Breaking the Haze: Crafting Unique IPAs Among a Sea of Similarity

Breaking the Haze: Crafting Unique IPAs Among a Sea of Similarity

Breaking the Haze: Crafting Unique IPAs Among a Sea of Similarity

The Hazy IPA Craze: A Brief Overview

In recent years, the Hazy IPA has taken the beer world by storm. These cloudy, juicy IPAs have become the darling of craft beer enthusiasts, commanding long lines and high prices at breweries across the country. But as the market becomes increasingly saturated with Hazy IPAs, it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish one from another. What is it about these beers that makes them all taste the same? And how can brewers create something truly unique in this crowded landscape?

What Makes a Hazy IPA?

First, let’s break down what exactly a Hazy IPA is. These beers are characterized by their turbid appearance, which comes from the use of unfiltered or minimally filtered hops. Hazy IPAs are also known for their intense fruity aroma and flavor, which is often achieved through the use of certain hop varieties or the addition of fruit puree.

The Problem with Hazy IPA Homogenization

So, what’s causing all Hazy IPAs to taste the same? It’s largely a matter of recipe formulation and brewing techniques. Many breweries are using the same base malt and hop varieties, resulting in a similar flavor profile across multiple brands. Additionally, the brewing process for Hazy IPAs often involves adding ingredients like oats or wheat to create a fuller mouthfeel and haze. When these steps are followed too closely, it can be difficult to distinguish one Hazy IPA from another.

Brewing a Unique Hazy IPA

So how can brewers create something truly distinctive in this crowded market? One option is to experiment with different hop varieties and malt combinations. For example, instead of relying solely on the popular Citra and Mosaic hops, try incorporating a lesser-known hop variety to create a more unique flavor profile. Similarly, using malt varieties that are less commonly found in Hazy IPAs can help set your beer apart from the rest.

Another option is to offer a twist on the classic Hazy IPA by adding unconventional ingredients. For example, one brewery in California created a Hazy IPA infused with matcha tea, which gave the beer a distinctive green hue and earthy flavor. Another brewery in Brooklyn added dragonfruit to their Hazy IPA, resulting in a vibrant pink color and tropical flavor.

In short, brewing a unique Hazy IPA means thinking outside the box and not being afraid to take risks. By experimenting with different ingredients and techniques, brewers can create something that stands out in a crowded market. So next time you go to a brewery and see a lineup of Hazy IPAs, don’t be afraid to try something new and different. Who knows, you might just stumble upon your new favorite beer.


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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