Updated: Jul 12, 2022
What is the deal with all of these hazy beers all over Asheville and around the nation? Beer fans have been venturing to breweries to seek out this cloudy, heavily hopped, and very juice-like beverage. Some breweries like Burial Beer in Asheville have developed a die hard, loyal and thirsty following for their "Hazies." Burial releases a hot, new, and fresh hazy beer on most weeks. Many excited patrons purchase several cases of freshies (the fresher the better) to take back to their friends and family. Some guests even sell them at a premium on the secondary market or trade them for other rare beers. What is this style and where did it come from all of sudden?
We can thank a little brewery in the snowy ski town of Stowe, Vermont called The Alchemist for helping start the haze craze.The brewers at The Alchemist started the development of hazy beers like Heady Topper Hazy Double IPA. Then the "style" caught on in the region when Trillium Brewing Co. (Boston, Mass.) created their Julius, a Hazy IPA. By adding heavy doses of oats and wheat into the grist these whimsical northern brewers started making IPA look much different than the typical IPA. Melding the adjunct grains with copious amounts of tropical, fruity, juicy, West Coast, late addition as well as dry hops and the hazy beer was born.
The idea was to create a "hoppy" beer that would appeal to the masses. Perceivable bitterness was made quite low by using aromatic hops instead of bittering hops. The goal was to allow the sweet grains, tropical hop flavors, and fruity esters from the ale yeast to shine (albeit not brilliantly). After all this is a hazy beer. From the popularity worldwide, it appears like the brewers were successful in creating a beer for everyone.
The New England IPA (Hazy IPA) was named, not because of local New England ingredients used, but for the location of the commercial, local, and artisan breweries in Vermont and Massachusetts. The Northeastern brewers/artists/scientists willingness to push the boundaries of what beer could look like, feel like and taste like has changed beer in the last decade. The raw ingredients used in such beers are coming from all over the world but the IDEA of a hazy, juicy, fuller bodied hoppy beer without noticeable bitterness was born in New England. This is where hazies were born. That is why these beers have the New England IPA moniker. Pretty cool, huh?
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In 2018 at The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado (the largest commercial beer competition in the nation) added the Hazy Pale Ale, Hazy IPA and Hazy Double IPA categories. There were hundreds of entries for the 9 medals available and the winners, like the Alarmist Brewery in Chicago, IL were instantly put on the beer map. They became a destination to go enjoy and purchase world class hazy beer overnight. The Alarmist's Le Jus (Juice) won a gold medal in the first year that the Hazy IPA style was recognized. This prestigious award instantly catapulted their brewery to prominence well beyond the borders of Chicago-land. They still make Le Jus to this day as one of their flagships, or year round beers.
These days it is nearly impossible to find a brewery, sports bar or watering hole that does NOT carry at least one of these new aged, hazy, juice bombs that the public has developed such a taste for. On Beer City Brewery Tours my groups saunter from Burial Beer Co. to Green Man Brewing to Eurisko Beer Co. in Asheville's famous South Slope neighborhood. My groups consume and learn about world class hazy beers as well as so many other unique beer styles. We are open every day to quench your thirst and open your minds to the stories of hazy beers and much, much more. Book your tour today online!
Beer City Brewery Tours