Hazy IPAs probably aren’t the final frontier of beer brewing, but the more experimental enthusiasts certainly do act like it. But are any of these complex IPAs with too much crap in them actually any good? We’ll be the judge of that!
Se7en Deadly Trends, Loowit Brewing
Speaking of putting weird stuff in beer, Loowit’s Se7en Deadly Trends has pies (like, full pies) in it—or “Fruit brut pastry,” according to the can.
“‘Brut’ means champagne,” said a former beer sommelier who was wingman-ing some of our tastings.
“It says full pies,” I said. “They add whole pies, that they make inhouse, to the kettle during boil.”
“It just tastes tart,” the beer sommelier said.
“I’m getting pie,” I said moments later. “Pie aftertaste.”
We both agreed there were passionfruit notes in the Se7en Deadly Trends. But still... what is in those pies? If you were hoping to taste buttery crust, you’re out of luck. This is a tart, middle-body hazy. A whole lotta fuss, with some follow-through.
Dream Pop with Blackberry, Peach, and Vanilla, Modern Times
Okay, so this is juice. It looks like juice, and tastes like delicious, thick kombucha, but if Modern Times wants to call it beer, then I will come along. Dream Pop is a hazy fruited IPA, and is Modern Times’ take on the creamy milkshake IPA. (Warning! If you’re vegan, let the term “milkshake” alert you to the possibility of lactose sugar!) But since Modern Times is a vegan brewery, they create the milkshake-like haziness with a frickin’ boatload of peaches and blackberries, then tie the flavors together with vanilla.
Life’s a Peach and Then You Die, Riverbend Brewing
Of course the beer that Mercury News Reporter Blair Stenvick recommended turned out to be incredible. Life’s a Peach is a milkshake IPA that could unite the armies of France, or, as my beer sommelier put it, “This is a beer my mom would like.” This hazy IPA could coalesce a wide spread of beer drinkers with its perfect hint of peach and its easy existence between sweet and tart. Both Life’s a Peach and its brewery sibling Hawaiian Crunk contain lactose sugar, which may explain their perfect creaminess. Hawaiian Crunk is like a creamy fruit punch, which I’m not sure anyone ever asked for, but here we are—and I’m a fan. After tasting a field of beers that promised a pine aftertaste, I finally tasted pine in Hawaiian Crunk, a beer that never promised it. What a delightful sensorial blend!
Boba Bubbler, Matchless Brewing
Well, that’s a taste. Certainly a taste. “Are you getting petroleum?” I asked the beer sommelier. “I’m getting a smoky coconut,” she replied. Neither of us tasted the tapioca pearls or brown sugar we were promised. We both agreed that Boba Bubbler is malty, though.
Orange Whip, Fortside Brewing
Though it bears no resemblance to the delicious frozen treat of my youth nor the cocktail of my adult years, Fortside Brewing’s Orange Whip does bring a respectable level of creaminess. My complaint: Where’s the orange? The grapefruit comes through in a pleasant way. I declare this a luscious citrus haunting.
Haze of Our Lives, Old Town Brewing
“Can you note my disappointment at the false advertising?” the beer sommelier asked, after we expressly picked up this hazy for the hilarity of its can, whose branding promised a soap-opera level of “flowering drama and bold finishes.”
“It has a mouth-numbing quality,” the beer sommelier assigned. “Like dental surgery.”
Darkest Day, Matchless Brewing
This “dark hazy IPA” is not very hazy-like. The only similarity might be the thickness, but it seems to more closely resemble a stout, but without a stout’s potential for sweetness. “This is a winter warmer,” the beer sommelier decreed. Darkest Day is quite bitter and malty, but still satisfying.
Little Juice Smoothie, Three Magnets Brewing Co.
Smells like juice, but tastes like oatmeal? Three Magnets’ Little Juice Smoothie has a lot of delightful contradictions and complexities. It’s malty and has a dark, smoky taste. We end up describing this hazy as an oatmeal cookie beer.
Magnetic Fields, Fort George Brewery
This last beer is merely “hazy inspired,” but it’s a brand-new seasonal, so the time seemed right to include it. The gorgeous can art attracted us, but the light, bright beer left us satisfied. Still, this beer brought a lot of delightful pineapple associations and a full hoppy flavor.