Rob McFerren: Hazy IPAs hop into Southern California

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Hazy India pale ales have become popular in the last year and there are no signs that this new version of an IPA is just a short-lived fad.

Breweries in Southern California are producing these hazy beers at a fast rate and will sometimes have two, three or even more on their tasting room tap lists.

Even with the hazy popularity, there are many breweries that still say they will never brew a “hazy” and are sticking to the tradition of brewing only “clear” IPAs.

The Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group that promotes and protects craft brewers nationally and sets the official style guidelines, has added hazy IPAs as one of the recognized styles.

The new style will be divided into three sub-styles that includes “juicy or hazy pale ales”, “juicy or hazy IPAs”, and “juicy or hazy double IPAs.”

As a group, juicy or hazy beers often exhibit low perceived bitterness, high hop aroma and flavor, and a softer texture. Hops with tropical fruit flavors are the ones most used in brewing these hazy or juicy beers.

These hazy IPAs are not really that new as they have been back East (New England area) for about 10 years.

The process in creating a hazy beer depends on a combination of malt, hops and yeast used when brewing them.

First, wheat and oats are added to the grain bill that gives a softer mouth feel and adds some haze to the beer.

Secondly the yeast strain used is one that will not clear the beer like traditional strains.

And finally, the hops used are added at the end of the brewing process so that there’s little or no bitterness along with choosing hop varieties that provide tropical or citrus fruit flavors.

These hazy beers are here to stay so if you get a chance give one a try and decide for yourself if you like them or not. Cheers!

Rob McFerren is the owner of Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.

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