It’s Official: New England India Pale Ale Is a Style

Beer Smack by | May 2017 | Issue #124
Illustration by Joe Anderson

Love them or hate them, there’s simply no denying that hazy and juicy India Pale Ales (aka New England IPAs or NEIPAs) aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Don’t believe us? Take a moment to look at our list of Top Beers, where they’ve been dominating, influencing, and inspiring brewers and consumers for several years.

For those who aren’t in the know, a NEIPA is essentially an unfiltered IPA or Double IPA that’s been aggressively hopped. Appearance ranges from slightly hazy or cloudy to opaque or muddy. Dry-hopping, the use of high-protein grains (flours, flaked oats, wheat), certain yeast strains, water chemistry, CO2 levels, and other techniques may also contribute to the beer’s haze and mouthfeel. But the overall goal is typically a hazy, juicy IPA packed with fruity and floral flavors.

What’s interesting about the NEIPA is that despite being one of the most controversial and polarizing styles in recent years, we’re seeing brewers jump on the bandwagon at an incredible pace. And not only the style, but its signature packaging: the 16-ounce can. From those who practically base their entire business on it to well-established and once skeptical veterans willing to change their brewing philosophies and brand focus, a growing number of brewers are seeking to capture some of that hoppified cash in a can. And in an interesting twist, haze-hating brewers once applauded by industry colleagues are now being met with silence from many of those same brewers on their way to the bank.

That said, there’s still an open debate about whether or not the NEIPA is a style or if it should be called something else. As far as we’re concerned, the debate has been over for some time now and dumping these beers into the American IPA category doesn’t work.

Consumers have spoken, brewers have embraced it, and everyone already uses the name. So like it or not, the New England India Pale Ale is a style, and one that you’re going to see much more of as brewers continue to jump on the hazy hype train.

Respect Beer. 

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