What’s the Hazy Beer Craze All About?

Whether you’re a home brewer or just a beer fan, hazy (cloudy) beers are all the rage these days. The coloring originates in the New England IPA, a type of IPA that is usually yellow or orange in coloring, hazy. Breweries have implemented this brewing process in the brewing of other types of beer, though they are most often other varieties of IPA, characterized by the intense flavor of hops. They usually are medium in color, lower in alcohol content (6-8%), and very bitter due to the hops.

Hazy beers tend to yield higher ratings on “beer nerd” apps as well as giving the beer a juicy, creamy mouthfeel. Some hazy beers are available in stores, particularly the New England IPA, but opaque beers carry the highest ratings of them all. Opaque IPA’s are only available at select breweries across the country or are “one-off” beers at regular breweries because they are harder to produce.

When asked about how they obtain the hazy body of the New England IPA, multiple local breweries, particularly Stickman Brews (Royersford, PA) and Free Will Brewing Company (Perkasie, PA) provided similar responses. The ingredients and length of the boil contribute to the beer’s hazy quality. A high-protein grain, such as wheat, oats, or rye must be used. More often than not lactose is an ingredient in hazy and opaque beers, but it’s not what gives them the color. The boil must be on the shorter side as well. Some cloudy beers are unfiltered, but this is just one factor in giving the beer a hazy color. Additionally, flour can also be used to obtain a turbid color, as well as dry-hopping near the end of fermentation. In fact, many prominent microbreweries have admitted or at least alluded to their use of flour to brew their own opaque beers. It appears to be the primary and most often used method in achieving this color. Alternatively, if home-brewing is too expensive and time-consuming, beer distributors and brewpubs have turbid beers readily available for your enjoyment!

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