The Haze Craze
Many people thought hoppy beers were going to be a phase or trend for beer drinkers. In some ways this was true, at one point breweries were making and consumers were looking for IPAs that how the highest IBU count as a badge of honor. We still see beers with 100+ IBUs but people now seek balance in their IPAs, the bitterness from the hops should be offset but the sweetness from the grains. In recent years we've seen more and more single-hopped beers as consumers have become more familiar with hop varieties they enjoy. I personally think this is an awesome shift in how beers are made so I only hope to see more and more of it! What I'm getting at is hoppy beers are here to stay, they're not a fad and if they are a trend, it's a trend that's going to last for several more decades but it's definitely not going away.
Currently there is a fun battle going on between West and East Coast styles of IPAs. The modern American IPA is something that came out of the West and was the primary driver of the craft beer movement, if gave people a taste they weren't accustomed to and couldn't get enough of. Eventually things caught on all over country and newer variations of these IPAs started to pop up. These North East style beers specifically had softer flavors, at times less bitterness but more importantly they were unfiltered and some of them were cloudy and turbid almost like orange juice! I've had quite a few of these cloudy IPAs and while it isn't a sure fire sign of a great beer it definitely leads to some great flavors. I've also had quiet of few hazy beers that just tasted dirty and the cloudiness that people are looking for didn't lead to great flavors. Regardless of a few duds it should be pointed out that many of the highest rated IPAs that are being brewed are cloudy but what this has lead to is people only drinking or seeking out beers that are hazy. I've seen on some of the blogs and social media being disappointed in some highly rated beers just because they weren't hazy or that this batch wasn't as hazy as the last batch.
Sure, beers from Grimm, Tree House and Trillium all tend to be hazy and very rarely to beers from these breweries end up being bad beers. But just because there are a handful of breweries out there making great beers that are cloudy doesn't mean you should be dismissing them. There are plenty of great IPA out there, Stone Enjoy By, Firestone Walker Double Jack and even some of the batches of Other Half beers end up not being cloudy but still damn delicious. Chase your turbid beers but keep an open mind and don't let the haze craze cloud your judgement of a good beer. I've gotten a few beers from a certain Ohio brewery that a brewed just for the sake of being cloudy and were better off being dumped down my drain.