Let’s get right to the juicy stuff.
We’re talking, of course, about hazy IPAs, which continue to keep beer lovers waiting and salivating in line (at least before the coronavirus pandemic), in hopes of securing the latest rare releases.
Interestingly, fans of hazy IPAs, also known as New England-style IPAs or simply NEIPAs, far more often find their admiration for breweries that specialize in these highly popular beers rather than for particular examples — this due to many being made in limited quantities, and without broad distribution. (No doubt, scarcity contributes to the NEIPA’s appeal.)
So, with that in mind, we asked the brewers themselves which craft breweries they believe have demonstrated great proficiency in the uniquely American beer style. Below, 12 beer producers from across the country opine on the best purveyor of hazy IPAs.
The Best Hazy IPA Breweries, Recommended by Brewers:
- Tired Hands Brewing Company, Ardmore, Pa.
- Other Half Brewing Company, Brooklyn
- Great Notion Brewing, Portland, Ore.
- Humble Sea Brewing Co., Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Root + Branch Brewing, Copiague, N.Y.
- Cellarmaker Brewing Co., San Francisco
- Triple Crossing Beer, Richmond, Va.
- The Alchemist Brewery, Stowe, Vt.
- Hudson Valley Brewery, Beacon, N.Y.
- Mountains Walking Brewery, Bozeman, Mont.
- Hop Butcher for the World, Darien, Ill.
Keep reading for details about all the recommended bottles!
“Wow. What a loaded question. The first brewer or brewery that popped into my head was Jean Broillet and Tired Hands. I just like Jean’s approach to beer in general. Trends are changing so quickly, and everyone wants the next hype beer style, but I like to rely on breweries that I know will create a consistently good and balanced product regardless. With hazy IPAs, so many examples are pushed out too quickly and get spicy. But I can have an IPA, or any beer, from Tired Hands weeks, even months, later, and they taste the same. (Full attenuation is key!) I’ve never been disappointed in a hazy IPA, or a pilsner, or an experimental potato something from Jean, and I don’t imagine I will be anytime soon.” — Erika Tessier, Co-owner and Assistant Brewer, Origin Beer Project, Cranston, R.I.
“I’ve been a big fan of Other Half, and the brewery’s IPAs are some of the best in the game, the continuous hype well deserved. They carry explosive aroma, mouthfeel, and flavor profile that checks all the right boxes. DDH Broccoli is still one of my all-time favorite IPAs, and the All Together initiative was not only a great beer, but a great campaign to support all these small business and communities during the coronavirus pandemic. The only downside is that I don’t have the opportunity to drink Other Half here in rural Iowa as often as I’d like!” — Eric Hild, Lead Brewer, Toppling Goliath Brewing Co., Decorah, Iowa
“Great Notion was the first brewer in Portland to start making hazy IPAs, and now there’s not one producer who doesn’t include at least one example in their lineup. What’s great about the city’s brewing community is that we openly share ideas; we’ve learned a lot about this style from each other. The most impressive part of Great Notion’s hazy IPAs is consistency. In particular, the all-Citra Ripe represents the style well, showcasing a silky body, balanced malt, and juicy hop expression.” — Shaun Kalis, Co-founder, Ruse Brewing Company, Portland, Ore.
“My choice for the best hazy IPA brewery isn’t from New England, but from a kooky town by the Pacific. I’ve been stoked on Humble Sea for a while and will always stop for a ‘Foggy’ IPA when in Santa Cruz. The brewery has been cranking out a ton of sick hazies since opening a few years ago, each more radical than the last. I think the Humble Sea team really nailed it with Socks & Sandals. Classic West Coast aromatics and flavor with that soft, creamy mouthfeel of a NEIPA; it really hit that sweet spot for me. It’s like East Coast meets West (Best) Coast.” — Justin Carter, Cellar Lead, Drake’s Brewing Co., San Leandro, Calif.
“Anthony Sorice of Root + Branch is one of a small handful of brewers that can really make a hazy IPA shine. His beers are well thought out, meticulous, and patiently executed. Root + Branch does a great job of keeping the style well balanced. Examples are bright, clean, and show the right amount of restraint, which is very rare these days. I had the pleasure to work alongside Anthony for a period of time and it was clear from the start that he had an excellent grasp on what makes a New England-style IPA work. There’s a very good reason why his beers sell out so fast, and it’s not just hype. The care, quality, and love is obvious.” — Stjepan Pavich, Lead Brewer, Other Half Brewing, Brooklyn
“Tim Sciascia at Cellarmaker makes amazingly crushable hazy IPAs that are consistently imbued with aromatic notes of Citra hops and tropical fruit. This adds to the drinkability of his beers, and shows off his amazing ability to find and select the best hops out in the market.” — Brian Rauso, Co-founder and CEO, Green Cheek Beer Co., Orange, Calif.
“Anytime I have a Triple Crossing hazy IPA, I end up staring at the glass after each sip. I’m half wondering how the Virginia brewery did it, and half hoping the consumed beer will magically replenish itself. That ‘it’ is being able to layer expressive yeast character, water chemistry, and hop aromatics in a way that makes its hazy IPAs truly stand out from the crowd. The single-hop Triangles series really showcases Triple Crossing’s chops; with only a single hop variety, the team achieves an envying amount of structure and complexity. Simcoe Triangles was the last one I had. It’s fresh-cut grapefruit bliss, summertime melon, and dank citrus wrapped up in a velvety smooth mouthfeel.” — Turner Humphries, Head Brewer, Hoptown Brewing Company, Mooresville, N.C.
“In my opinion, The Alchemist is one of the best producers of hazy IPAs. Everything the brewery makes in the style is nicely balanced in terms of aromatics and bitterness, and it’s based in Vermont, which has excellent water sources. Some of my personal favorite IPAs are Heady Topper and Focal Banger. Heady is probably Alchemist’s most famous beer. However, Focal Banger to me seems to be a more dialed-in recipe. I’m more of a malt gal myself, and I enjoy its malt sweetness. Not only does John Kimmich and team produce delicious hazy bois, but they’re also involved in community outreach, aspiring to educate and involve the community around them. The most recent involvement is an anti-racism action plan.” — Haley Ann Warren, Head Brewer, Sparge Brewing, Wellington, Colo.
“Hudson Valley Brewery consistently puts out great, more straightforward hazy, hoppy beer that flies under the radar because of all the attention — and rightly so — its innovative sour IPAs get. Though not an IPA, the hazy pale ale Diadem was one of the best hoppy beers I’ve had this year. The thing that excites me the most about what the Hudson Valley crew does, and where they seem to consistently differentiate themselves, is in blending capabilities. Their ability to skillfully arrange different fermentation profiles can really take hazy, hoppy beers to a place that is perfect for the modern drinker’s flavor and aroma wheelhouse.” — Ben Clayton, Founder and Brewer, The Test Brewery, Brooklyn
“The funky folks at Mountains Walking are making my go-to hazy IPAs these days, in particular the rotating Oat Whip series, which feature single hop varieties without changing the notion of a cloudy, juicy, hoppy beer. They make great companions at the end of a long trail hike or sitting on the side of a stream after a day of fly fishing. We were one of the first to produce hazy IPAs in the wilderness state, and we called them ‘frontier style’ because no one here really knew what a New England IPA was at that time. So we made up that term, since I had brewed in New Mexico and Pennsylvania prior to coming to Montana, where hazy IPAs had been around a lot longer. I’m glad to see other breweries taking the reins on this category that shines brightest on the local level, and making cloudy suds regularly available in Montana.” — Luke Steadman, Brewmaster and Janitor, Smelter City Brewing, Anaconda, Mont.
“I’ve always loved Other Half’s hazy IPAs. Along with a few others, Other Half paved the way for the style. The team is always pushing boundaries and I appreciate that. Right now, I’m really digging the brewery’s double dry-hopped session IPA, [DDH] Baby Diamonds. I love how well Amarillo and Galaxy play together, and it’s easy drinking.” — Maria Cabre, Head Brewer, J. Wakefield Brewing, Miami
“Hop Butcher is knocking it out of the park with the hazy IPAs right now. No two are alike, but they’re consistent with quality, pleasing mouthfeel, and exploding with flavor. The extensive range of hop profiles is incredible. A few of my favorites are Tavern Cut, Neon Green Relish, and Blazed Orange. I’m always excited to see what the brewery is going to put out next.” — Rachel Leiby, Head Brewer, Geneseo Brewing Co., Geneseo, Ill.
Published: October 19, 2020