To say things have been crazy lately might be a complete understatement! Between working full-time at The Beer Junction in West Seattle, I’ve also picked up a second job at a startup in Pioneer Square.
I’m curious to see when my body is just going to straight throw in the towel and give up on me. I also just dyed my hair dark, so is this what a quarter-life crisis feels like??
That’s not to say I haven’t been drinking all the beers- oh man have I. I was chatting with one of my beer friends the other day about how it’s kind of ironic that those who work the most, and in the industry, probably drink the most too.
You try and work in the service industry for 10 hours in one day and NOT want to drink everything… I dare you! (okay.. I love you beer people. Don’t take that personally!)
Part of this over-consumption of deliciousness is this whole New England/Vermont/East Coast/Smoothie/Milkshake IPA (whatever the hell you want to call it). Yeah, yeah. I’m sure you’ve all had one but they are seriously amazing. Breweries like Three Magnets, Matchless & Cloudburst as well as Modern Times Beer, out of California, (which just started distributing outside of California) have jumped on this tasty train and I’m not even mad.
So what exactly is this style of IPA? Living in the Pacific Northwest means we are in the center of hop country; while hops are used regardless, this “new” (to us West Coasters) style focuses on the flavor of the hop, and not the bitterness we’re all used to.
We’ve been trained to adore and trust those crystal clear beers, but this style will throw you for a loop if you have no idea about them. These IPAs pour purposefully hazy and cloudy, which ends up giving them a smoother (eh hem, smoothie anyone?) mouthfeel. While most IPAs are clear as day, the NE IPA can include flaked oats to really give off that milky aspect, and also add to the mouthfeel. Most have little to moderate bitterness and really utilize and highlight tropical flavor in the hops.
This style of IPA is a bit more popular just for the fact that the hops aren’t trying to murder you with that dank bitterness. Instead of boiling with the hops, they are more often used during the dry-hopping stage just to extract the juicy, smoothie, floral tastes. We know that a lot of breweries around town use Citra and Mosaic, but these hops are also really f*cking tasty too! The most common strains found in this style of IPA are Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy (GD yum), Amarillo and El Dorado.
Okay but what makes them hazy?
Alright- there’s also this big debate that this style of beer isn’t even really a thing. And I’m here to tell you to earmuff and drink all of them anyways! I’ve gone back and forth with bitter IPAs and whether or not I want them to punch my delicate little taste buds, but this “style” or whatever you want to call it is giving me some serious hope. Maybe it goes along with my love for sweet things, but the bolder, more fruit forward beers have stolen my heart.
Recently we went and checked out Seapine Brewing Co. in Sodo and got our hands some pretty stellar beers- one of those is their Positron IPA. Now, this isn’t straight-up a New England/whatever IPA, at least not from Seapine’s claim, but is pretty much what all the breweries around town are trying to accomplish. This IPA utilizes Galaxy hops which has a mild to moderate bitterness but adds that juicy passionfruit and citrus in to the mix. If you’re looking for that “smoothie” style of IPA, this guy is definitely going to be the one for you. With a bit more of a creamy mouth feel, it’s too damn smooth and fruit filled to not love. I mean, just look at that gorgeous dark yellow/orange?! I’m telling you.. you need to get your paws on this.
While the debate goes back and forth, and I’m sure many people will hate me for even addressing this style, a beer is a beer and and I know when I’ve found one I can’t live without. So if you like bitterness, maybe stay away, but they are definitely worth a try.