In today’s beer world there is no greater debate than Hazy vs. Filtered IPAs. The trend of hazy IPAs (also refered to as New England Style, Vermont Style or juice bombs) is growing exponentially, especially in the northeast US. Breweries like Treehouse and Trillium have set a high standard for IPAs which are usually unfiltered and have the appearance of orange juice or even a vanilla milkshake. Hoards of beards and baseball caps line up each morning as they anticipate the latest release from these highly touted brewers.
In Colorado, we are seeing just the infant stages of this same phenomenon as breweries have started to opt for the hazy styles and are seeing great results from it. The demand is certainly here in Colorado just as it has been in New England for the last couple years. Perhaps the most notable Rocky Mountain example of the style is Odd13, based out of the Lafayette, CO, not too far from Denver and Boulder. It is difficult to even keep these guys on the shelf with their enormous popularity and tendency to make some awesome hazy IPAs. Keep an eye out for their 2 mainstays, both hazy and both delicious. Codename: Superfan is perhaps their flagship beer. A very smooth and hoppy NE style IPA that has been constantly evolving and improving in my opinion. Also keep an eye out for the even juicier Pale/IPA N00b, which is lower in alcohol than Codename: Superfan but provides intense notes of tropical fruit.
Another brewery to look out for is right on the other side of Vail pass and does not distribute (yet) but is an awesome destination for this style. I am referring to Outer Range Brewing out of Frisco. Located right off exit 203 next to whole foods, these guys are killing it with not even 6 months under their belt. The 1st can release was this past weekend, with the standout milkshake IPA “In the Steep”, a 100% Citra hop juice bomb. Do yourself a favor and stop by and give yourself a really good example of this new style. Hopefully we will se their beer here at West Vail Liquor Mart soon!
There is some pushback from traditionalists in this style that argue that it is somewhat of a fad or a gimmick. You should try it for yourself to decide. Know going in that this new style tends to be more juicy and fruity than the bitter west coast style that has been more traditionally brewed in the US. I would say it does not really matter which you like better as long as you know what you like.
The one main difference between traditional IPAs and this new style can be, in my opinion, both an advantage and a disadvantage. While you want to drink every IPA as fresh as possible, the New England style is meant to be drank young. It may fall off faster than a big hoppy west coast IPA. In a way this can be an advantage as the style continues to grow here in CO. Brewers want to get this style out the consumer fresh, so usually you can find these beers as fresh as a few days to a week old. They can be quite delicious in this form. Regardless, try the style for yourself and see where you stand because you will start to see them more and more available.
-Dean LoRusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart