How One Beer Geek Fell out of Love With Hazy IPA

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cid71, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. cid71

    cid71 Initiate (115) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey

  2. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,179) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Perhaps Jim wrote this two years ago, shelved it... and lacking publishable material during the pandemic, dusted it off and added a dash of "2020" and "seltzer" to the mix to freshen it up. Yep, that would explain this. :wink::wink:
  3. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,972) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    That was quite an excellent article and very spot-on points being made. Nice job, Jim Vorel (Paste writer). Hopefully he is active on BA (alias doesn't matter). He'd be great for forum conversations. Thanks @cid71 for sharing.
  4. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (3,430) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
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    His points would have been just as valid two years ago! :sunglasses:
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  5. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,829) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Perhaps. These criticisms are not new. But they have, if anything, become more relevant since nothing has improved in the hazy IPA scene, IMO.

    I was having similar thoughts (and likely posted some of them here) within the last couple of years. But as I said, it seems to me that this has not abated in the intervening time, and, in fact, has gotten worse.

    Since I am fairly rigid in rarely buying singles, and nearly always 4/6 packs of any new beer, I have stopped buying NEIPAs from any of the local brewers here.

    Many times, the first taste was good, getting even high reviews from me, but also after that first one, too many just sat in my 'fridge, where each time I looked at it the thought "ugh" came to mind. And, many I just didn't bother to even review.

    For me, they became a waste of time and money.

    If there are any brewed locally that rival the "transcendentally delicious beers" of which the author speaks, good for them, but I don't have the money or patience to discover them (and they are likely one-of's anyway).

    One positive thing the local NEIPAs did, though, was encourage me to further explore lagers.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I know the following thought is not 'mainstream thinking' for the beer geek crowd but I really wish the Juicy/Hazy IPA craze would diminish. I am not looking for these sorts of beers to disappear but I really would like it of there were more beer brands other than Juicy/Hazy on tap and on beer retailer shelves.

  7. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,449) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
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  8. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (334) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    3. The Sheer Difficulty of Drinking Modern Hazy IPA

    This wasn't his exact point I don't think. I thought it was many of the hazy ipas are not made well and are overly hopped to the point of hop burn and astringency and those ones are difficult to drink. He does call out that the ones made well are very enjoyable. And I agree with this point and unfortunately it seems the good ones are few and far between.
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  9. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,310) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    I really believe NEIPAs are primarily responsible for the small resurgence of lagers, or more specifically, Pilsners. People burned out or bored by "same-y" IPAs, like the article mentions, are reaching more often for lighter, easier drinking beer that can be enjoyed in quantity.

    Also, this quote from the article is the best:
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I believe that from a personal beer drinking experience that Jim Vorel would agree with your post as written. Having stated that there is the broader issue of:

    “…but drinkers have accepted that too-sweet, too-sticky, too-gritty, too-yeasty, too-vegetal, too-corrosive IPA is not only acceptable for the style, but the apex of the modern beer world. We’ve all been led so far astray that the guys living on Untappd are handing out five stars to beers that aren’t just hard to drink, but awarding those beers because they’re hard to drink, as if that’s a feature rather than a flaw.”

    If the Haze Bois are rewarding the above sorts of beers via their purchasing habits it means that more and more of these sorts of beers will be on tap and on retailers’ shelves. A less than ideal situation IMO.

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  11. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,037) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    I really enjoy NEIPAs; however, their ubiquity and 'sameness' are just two reasons I've taken a large step back from craft beer. While I find some examples in the style very enjoyable, I can't palate the price point to support those brewers often. NEIPAs are one of several trends that have driven me into the safety and arms of Sierra Nevada, Odells and a handful of local breweries.
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  12. not2quick

    not2quick Zealot (508) Dec 1, 2015 Missouri
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    I'm in the same boat. I love a great hazy IPA, but the reality of me drinking more than 2 16oz cans in a night just doesn't sit well with me. Not only are they super calorie dense (300ish per can, maybe more) my palate burns out fast. They just don't sound as good after having a couple. I have to space them out too . I only drink on fri/sat/Sunday so by then I'm ready for a few, but come Sunday I may pass up that other half or monkish for a Coors light, lol.
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  13. hillind

    hillind Aspirant (266) Apr 24, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I rarely get them any more either. I’ll pick up the occasional New Trail release, but that is about it at this point. I did have a 3 week old Alpha King last night that absolutely hit the spot. That type of hoppy beer seems to be the way I’m leaning lately.
  14. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,183) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    I think the key thing is in complaint #1:
    I was going to say this but it was essentially in the article: being the most popular style at a time when you also “need” a new beer every cycle has led to large levels of mediocrity. I don’t think this is unique to the style, though styles with some history of pushing the extremes could lead this style into some of his other points (i.e. #3)
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  15. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,855) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    Just got back from florida and was again blown away by the lack of pilsners, helles or an other simple drinking beach beer. There were walls of NEIPA's in the coolers but I settled for some River Trip some of my daughters friends dragged down from ATL & some session IPAs and High Life. I don't know what it is about me that always tries a new NEIPA at a brewery or bar, but I am seldom pleased. One good thing coming out of this (mass production) is that most of the major brewery releases tend to border NEIPA with a milder bitterness West Coast style finish, which I find enjoyable.
  16. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,414) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Imo I enjoyed reading that article, and I fully agree with the premise. Perhaps this same situation is and was true with other styles as well. There’s the rush for breweries to get into the fight, so they put up trash, and they need a representative beer on the shelf. I generally stay away to be honest, I might dabble if I find a really fresh Modern Times, but my palate really leans towards beers like Heady, Pliny, just classic DIPAs, or even to Two Hearted or Pernicious, Head Hunter etc. Simple ipas that hit a hr every time.
  17. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,290) Sep 24, 2007 Mayotte
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    I solidly agree with the guy on every point.
  18. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,957) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    I think you are saying that you wish some other style of beer would put as much $$$ into brewers' pockets as NEIPA styles do right now, and that brewers would sell as much of that style as NEIPA? I think you are saying you wish brewers would make less NEIPA, but would make the same profits (or more) as now?

    If this is right, which style do you think could inspire the same or more popularity that NEIPA now inspires? What style could put the same amount of money into the bank for breweries?
  19. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (230) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    I don’t like to eat my IPAs.
  20. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,128) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Holy shit, this is the best beer article I've ever read, mirroring my own dissatisfaction with NEIPAs and their surrounding culture of toxicity. The entire article is agreeable and quotable, but my favorite point of his is that nearly all hazy IPAs are overhopped, too sweet, too thick, with a bad aftertaste wrought of hop burn. In the question to become more fruity and more creamy than the competition, they've pushed the boundaries to downright borderline undrinkability. I have a bunch of NEIPAs in my fridge that I wish I hadn't even bought because I'm getting sick of them. And the toxic clique-ish culture surrounding them is unbearable. I'm in a local beer group on Facebook that just circle jerks hype breweries like Other Half and Monkish, just to show off how cool they are for drinking hype beers. :rolling_eyes:
    And all of this is just part of a bigger whole that glamorizes sickly sweet pastry and dessert beer above else. Fruit slurries, diabetic stouts...lactose in everything.
    To each his own, but my heart is just not in it anymore...
    I mostly just drink lagers and uncool beers these days and love them, with no drama and no hype.

    Exactly! Me too! I finally reached the point where I will almost always choose a pilsner, a Helles, or a Vienna lager over a hazy IPA.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Nothing in my post #6 at all as regards financials/economics. I am just personally sick & tired of Juicy/Hazy IPAs crowding out other beer styles at bar tap handles and on my local beer retailers' shelves.

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  22. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,957) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Thanks for the clarification. Reasoned positions is what I am used to seeing in your posts, hence my questions.

    Amendm and scream like this.
  23. scream

    scream Meyvn (1,174) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Many good thoughts here. I see nothing I would be strongly against. Cheers BA's !
  24. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,414) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I’d add the mediocre contenders here, I’m sick of them. The really good ones can be stunning, the others not so much, the copycatters are mostly a fail. Really a tale of two kinda beers within the same style.
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes, that is indeed the 'bigger' issue.
    Dale, I am fortunate to live real close to Tired Hands and their Juicy/Hazy beer are of very high quality but even so I enjoy drinking just one of these beers and I am 'done' (i.e., not really wanting to drink a second). Now a Tired Hands Trendler Pilsner is differing thing in that once I finish one can of that beer I really want to drink a second.

    I am thinking that I am just not as enamored with the Juicy/Hazy beer style, even high quality versions. And the fact these beers are crowding out tap handles and shelves is getting irritating to me. Hopefully at some time the Haze Craze will diminish.

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  26. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,120) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
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    Add me to the list of beer geeks falling out of love with IPAs. Hazy, Milkshake (whatever the fuck that is), adjunct laden, West Coast, NE, Brut, Double, Triple, Quadruple, etc, etc.

    It’s all just too much, and most just aren’t that good.
  27. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Meyvn (1,062) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey

    I really enjoyed reading that article and I have started feeling the same way and have made some of the same observations to my wife (who’s only mildly interested). I still buy and enjoy certain NE IPAs but more and more I’ve been seeking out and enjoying lagers, saisons, and various other styles. Not to mention these NE IPAs, sours and dessert stouts are super expensive.
  28. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,829) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    It seems to me that in the past, the rush by every brewer to make an example of the beer craze of the day (say a classic AIPA), the mediocre beers (not counting brewing faults, etc.) were closer to the best in style than the mediocre hazy IPAs are.

    Maybe it is just my hazy (:wink:) memory.
  29. ECCS

    ECCS Aspirant (206) Oct 28, 2015 Illinois

    This is exactly my reaction to the article... his 3 main points can be said about many beer styles.

    1. “Same-y”... all lagers I’ve had have had a limited scope of flavor. All Hefeweizens I’ve had have been pretty same-y. That’s the whole point of a new BJCP style right... to normalize what it should taste like

    2. Bombast... breweries have to embrace Instagram culture these days. LiQuId BrOwNiE BaTtEr is a high compliment for a stout

    3. Drinkability.... I’ve had my fair share of poorly made beer if all styles, NEIPAs included

  30. scream

    scream Meyvn (1,174) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Follow the craze, quality if it happens. I for one do not see hazy IPA as a style, just an unfiltered brew with whatever they want to put in it to make it "different". To aim for better would be much of an improvement !
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  31. Amendm

    Amendm Crusader (784) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    I'm I missing something?
    The three Beers pictured in this article are not what I would call hazy.
    I witnessed "SMAZE" (smoke & haze) in L.A. and cities of the South West back in the 70s and early 80s. I've seen unpolluted haze, and I've seen cloudy days.

    I have yet to see an IPA that did not have at least a slight haze.
    If you can read through an IPA, your in the hazy range. When you can barely see your fingers moving in front of bright light then you are in the clouds, well, that's what I think.
    IPAs with that funky brownish color look polluted as does smaze.

    Is the comparison of IPAs being hazy or cloudy in Beer lingo that far off from weather terms?

    I hail from Murkville so, I really need to know. Cheers.
  32. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,368) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I can definitely relate to the sentiment against hazy ipas but my.experience has been that (other than "hazy", " juicy", or some similar term appearing on every.damn IPA package) the beers bearing that moniker are often very much in the tradition of ipas that I came up with. Bitterness remains a major feature, crispness remains a feature, and hop burn is still generally considered a flaw.

    I have never lost access to variety (specific beers that I preferred have left my area or been retired but I haven't lost access to any styles that used to be abundant), and I have zero problem obtaining very classically WC ipas. Hazy/juicy/ne ipas are also available now, and also generally not what i seen out, but they haven't impacted my access to other beer.

    I will say that I am no longer willing to spring for a $6 can or $8 draft pint of some random new IPA at the better beer bars without a strong recommendation from a bartender that knows my tastes or a very clear description from an obviously knowledgeable and skilled beer monger
  33. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,449) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
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    From where I'm sitting, this whole complaint doesn't come anywhere close to passing the smell (aroma? bouquet?) test. They sample 324 IPAs for a blind tasting, then complain about "same-y"? Give me a f-n break. That's not just palate fatigue talking, that's palate burnout. I can't wait to see what insights await when they do their blind seltzer tasting.
  34. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (255) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I would hope my favorite breweries read this article so maybe they could go back to offering a more balanced lineup but I know they are too busy counting the money from the latest milkshake ipa with banana cream release. Or the latest NEIPA with a slightly different hop bill than last week but a totally different label. I don't see the trend dying out anytime soon unfortunately. I have had to purchase more from bigger national brands vs local as it's not easy to buy local craft that isn't a NEIPA.
  35. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Champion (813) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    This article should be titled "A Beer Geek Afraid of Commitment." This man is clearly a beer lover and leaver- the worst kind of beer geek around. He is afraid of style commitment- complaining about tickers needing the next weekly NEIPA drop to try and the constant need for new hazy ipas yet how is he any different getting bored of NEIPAs and needing a new style? There is no doubt that hazy ipas were not his first love and that he must have loved one or more styles before this, but he got bored with those and just like now, there was some bright, shiny, new and less hoppy style waiting around the corner he just couldn't wait to jump on.
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  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,005) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, as I read that I thought, "Gee, what food or beverage (or experience of any kind), wouldn't I tire of after 324 examples?"

    Best I could come up with was grains of salt in a large meal or maybe poppy seeds on hard rolls or bagels.... 318, 319, 320 --- no, wait, that just a spec of dust...
  37. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,414) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    The stuff with lactose added just doubles down in making it horrible.
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  38. honkey

    honkey Disciple (318) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Brewery Trader

    It's funny to see this coming from Jim. I did an interview with him years ago and he's one of the most professional writers that I've worked with. He also was one of the most fun writers that I've talked with as far as the questions he asked and the thoughtfulness of the questions. Normally when I do interviews it's kind of like "Oh great, here we go again... Countdown to being asked 'What's the next big thing in craft beer?'" I remember when he tried the Hopbursted IPA at Blue Pants and he was so into it. At the time, he was very obviously all about intensely hoppy beers.

    I think a year ago, maybe even 2 years ago, there's no doubt that the hazy IPA trend had gotten out of hand. Lots of subpar examples being brewed constantly and a lot of breweries got some quick sales brewing them, but it ended up not being sustainable when consumers started getting a bit pickier. I think we've seen a huge drop off in the amount of hazy IPA's being brewed, at least in Arizona. We've seen a surge in flavored stouts and barrel aged beers and a lot more kettle sours. I think that the hazy IPA trend has also started to show signs of ushering in more diversity in the line ups of the breweries that brew them.

    Personally, I still like hazy IPA's, but I've brewed so many of them in the last 6 years that I am burned out on them. I still drink them on canning days, but after the day of release, it's not something I'm reaching for. Instead, I'm normally looking for Pilsners or Helles for the beer I get excited to drink. What's interesting, is that I think we're seeing an uptick in those styles being brewed and not only that, but for the first time in my 9 years in the industry, we're seeing real demand for USA craft brewed Pils and Helles. I think that's directly related to people wanting more diversity after such a lengthy time of drinking the most intensely flavorful beers they could find. In fact, when Tombstone Brewing opened in 2016, we brewed a German Pilsner (I guess some people would call it Italian these days since it's dry hopped...dumb) a few months into opening and a couple weeks after release, it was rated as the 13th highest rated German Pils on Untappd with a score of 3.78. We normally brew that beer once or twice a year and the rating has gone up but the placement has dropped dramatically since newer Pilsners are being rated close to a 4.0. A Czech Pils we released a few weeks ago is currently a 4.05 which is an unthinkable score compared to what we would have expected the most perfectly executed Czech Pils to rate at 2 years ago. We were going into pale lagers thinking that a 3.7 rating is about the best possible expectation and suddenly, it seems like in just a few month span, the consumer has changed that expectation around entirely. I truly believe that's thanks to people starting to seek more diversity from the hazy IPA and pastry stout craze. They aren't going away from hazy IPA's, but they are appreciating more traditional styles now more than at any point in the craft beer boom.
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  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Weedy, are you aware of any statistics (Brewers Association) which quantify this new 'trend'?
    Well, that would include me. Have you ever heard comments from your customers along the lines of: "I want beer that tastes like beer"?
    It is heartening to see craft beer consumers recognizing the quality of this beer. It was most certainly excellent IMO. The 'funny' thing here is that historically beer styles like Pilsners, Helles, etc. would have lower ratings on BA as compared to the popular beers like Juicy/Hazy IPAs. In the not too distant past the top rated German Pilsner on BA had a value of around 4.00. I just re-looked at the list to see that Hill Farmstead Poetica 2 is rated at 4.54 (to my pleasant surprise). Maybe Pilsner beer appreciation is rising on BA too?

    mikeinportc likes this.
  40. honkey

    honkey Disciple (318) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Brewery Trader

    Once in a while, the BA will release data about production volume by volume in the USA. I'm not sure if they do that every year, but we wouldn't see a trend starting in real time with their data. I think the lager trend has been coming on as a slow burn for a few years, but really exploded in just the last couple months. I would credit brewers like pFriem and Bierstadt for really getting customers on board and excited about their lagers. I just asked in a brewer's facebook group and the first 10 responses are all confirming that other brewers are seeing an increased demand for pale lagers.

    Most of my interactions with customers comes from Facebook. Our taproom is mostly tourists, but while our hazy IPA's have always dominated our distribution sales, pale lagers have always sold on tap at at least a 2 to 1 rate compared to hazies. Sometimes we'll have 3 hazy IPA's on tap and 2 pale lagers and when that's happened, we find ourselves changing out the pale lager kegs every other day where the IPA's will get changed once a week on average. As far as interactions on Facebook, we've seen a big increase in the amount of people that are sharing pictures of lagers in our AZ beer groups. 2 groups that I'm aware of (Lager is Love and Pilsner is Death) are also pretty active with fans of lagers that are "hyping" up lagers. Also, as much as I hate the Italian Pils name (even though I love most of the beers I've had that are labeled as such), I think that marketing has done wonders for getting people interested in lagers.

    BeerAdvocate has always had a more reasonable rating system than Untappd. I think more people on BA attempt to rate to style than what happens on Untappd. That said, I also noticed that the ratings for these beers has been on the rise on BeerAdvocate and that definitely makes me happy!