Of Cryo Hops and Cryptids…
by BrewHead Ted
I have long been a serious IPA fan. But, back when I first began my love affair with all things hoppy, I was decidedly NOT a fan of the New England style/hazy IPA. No, I much preferred the bitterness of the West Coast style, to the fruitiness of the hazy.
My, how the times have changed… I am now a convert, a true hazy IPA lover. Hallelujah! Now, don’t get me wrong: Sometimes, I still crave the unmitigated dankness that some of my favorite IPAs hit me with. But now, I have come to fully appreciate the hazy IPA, in all its glorious, fruit-forward, juicy goodness.
And so, to show my appreciation, and to wax poetic on all the things I love about this beer style, I have chosen three hazys, to taste and review. Two of them come from favorite breweries of mine, and one is new for me. All three were chosen from Howie’s Market‘s great beer selection.
Mothman Double Dry-Hopped Hazy IPA
Mothman is from my hometown brewery, Ogopogo Brewing, in San Gabriel, CA. It’s brewed with Citra, Strata, and Simcoe hops. I’d enjoyed many other hazys from Ogopogo’s lineup, but Mothman was relatively new to me.
Usually, when I’m drinking a good hazy, I’ll take my time savoring those first few sips, but often the rest of the beer goes down a little more quickly.
But I took my time with the entire pint of Mothman I’d poured myself.
What an amazing tasting experience!
- I first noted the pillowy, smooth body of the beer, that I enjoyed taking in slowly, and letting it roll over my tongue.
- After enjoying that, I savored the bright, citrusy notes of Mothman.
- The creamy smoothness of this beer really reminded me of some of Ogopogo’s other offerings, namely their delicious milkshake IPAs – the milkshake IPA being an offshoot of the hazy.
- If I were to sum up in one word what makes Mothman so special, I’d have to point to its complexity. Some hazys may get me with their smoothness, some with the tropical, fruity notes; but to get all that and more, in one beer, makes me want to write a 100-volume epic poem in appreciation of this hazy marvel.
But, I have two more beers to write about. (And I don’t think our editor would appreciate it.)
Food Fight from Common Space
- As for the opacity of the beer, it poured nice and hazy, and
- I enjoyed the citrus and pineapple notes of the beer.
- I found the beer to be hoppier than expected, not as smooth nor complex a drinking experience as Mothman.
This one went down more quickly than Mothman, and I (clearly) do not have as many notes as I did for Mothman. Nothing in the sipping experience really caused me to stop and say, “Wow!” Will I seek out Food Fight again?
But while not particularly notable, it wasn’t bad.
Indeed, it was a refreshing brew. I am eager to check out more from Common Space.
Super Fun! Hazy Hop! Hazy IPA
For my third and final hazy, I went back to the tried and true: Paperback Brewing, in Glendale, CA. Along with Ogopogo, Paperback has proven a reliable source of delicious beer for years. And one of my favorites has to be their Super Fun! Hazy Hop! Hazy IPA.
Of course, as with anything Paperback produces, the first thing I have to do is enjoy the fun can art. The can for Super Fun! Hazy Hop! declares, and I must agree, that it is “a hoppy love hug for your tongue!”
- Super Fun! Hazy Hop! pours nice and hazy, and has all the fruity notes I’d expect of the style.
- It’s a hoppier beer than Mothman, yet less so than Food Fight: nice and balanced.
- Something unexpected, but not at all unwelcome, is the piney note that I’d expect from a West Coast, not from a hazy.
- On this tasting, I didn’t get the complexity that I got from Mothman, but Super Fun! is an eminently sippable beer, and one that I often enjoy while sitting back and watching TV with family, or kicking back and working on a crossword puzzle.
Super Fun! most definitely earns the silver medal, and it should wear it proudly.
So, What Makes a Good Hazy?
I set out on this quest for the ultimate in hazy, juicy delight, not just to write about and compare three different beers, but to answer the question: What is it that makes a good hazy, for me?
It’s not necessarily about which beer has the most beautiful, opaque, golden color. (Though that’s a plus.)
It’s not necessarily about which beer has the most refreshingly juicy flavor. (Though that’s also a plus.)
In short, it’s not about all of those boxes being ticked, for what a hazy IPA is supposed to be. To borrow a term from my fellow SCCBB contributor, @beachrockbill, it’s all about the “crave factor.”
So who gets the gold?
As you may suspect, Dear Reader, I gotta go with Mothman. From the first sip, I was smitten. This, friends, is a beer that I could return to again and again, to satisfy my hazy cravings–and I highly recommend that you do the same, if and when you get the chance.
Until next time, cheers!