There’s a haze craze sweeping the nation! What once was a much-hyped, specialty beer originating in Vermont, the New England IPA (or Philly IPA as I like to call it, since we own New England in football) has spread its wings and landed all over the country. If you’ve been to a local craft brewery lately, you’ve probably noticed a bar full of hazy IPAs, replacing the West Coast-style crystal clear IPAs that we embraced for so long. Admittedly, I was initially skeptical of this new style that my friends were driving 6 hours each way to fill their cars with. As brewers, we’ve perfected the art of clarifying beer over the last millennium or so, and held ourselves to a standard of being able to literally read through your glass. You can imagine my surprise when I ignored the instructions on the can, and poured my NEIPA into a glass for the first time. So, I closed my eyes, and put my nose up to the hazy brew. I was instantly transported to a field of fresh hops, with the sun shining and the wind rustling through the vines that we hold so dear. The aromas of citrus, passionfruit, and tangerine engulfed me, and in taking a sip, these same notes rocked my taste buds! What was this delicious nectar, and how did they do it?
As time passed, every once in a while I was lucky enough to be treated to one of these hazy NEIPAs, and they began to rise in popularity in the craft beer world. Many styles have come and gone in the relatively young life of American craft brewing, but it seemed more and more like this one was here to stay. Once our loyal guests (YOU!) began asking for them, we decided it was time to brew! After doing a bunch of research – and taste testing – we devised a proper method and brewed up a few different recipes. We focused on keeping the bitterness super low, putting in more late-addition (aroma and flavor) hops, and dry-hopping an insane amount of our fruit-focused, lupulin-loaded little buddies. The result was a delicious, tropical fruit-forward, hugely drinkable, beautifully hazy beer. Instantly, they became some of our most popular and most sought-after brews! Hipster IPA and Chewie IPA were our initial releases, followed by Philly Special, Dankonia IPA, Never say Never IPA, and a few others.
Nowadays, you can usually find a New England (ahem… or Philly) IPA on tap at any one of our Iron Hill locations. Fortunately for us - and you - these beers pair perfectly with any number of our dishes. My personal favorite is Philly Special and a big ol’ plate of nachos. And of course, our brewers love to try new things, and we’ve started doing some experimentation with adding fruit, vanilla, and even more hops(!) to some special limited release kegs. Also, because of the low bitterness and fruit-forward components of these beers, we’re finding that even our long time Light Lager drinkers are loving IPAs for the first time! If you haven’t had the chance to try one of these special beers yet, I highly recommend delving into the world of hazy hoppy goodness and setting your taste buds free!
With 14 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and South Carolina, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. Each brewpub has their own craft kitchen and scratch brewery, allowing individual chefs and brewers the creativity to pair the freshest ingredients with the highest quality grains and hops. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.
This article was contributed by Matt Gundrum, Senior Head Brewer.