You may know them as Juicy or Hazy IPAs. Or maybe if you’re a beer nerd like me you tend to refer to them by their “proper” BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) Style Guidelines mandated name of New England IPAs. Regardless of language, one thing is for certain; this beer style is known across the globe for its “in your face” juiciness and the tendency we all have after finishing our glass to yell “Gimme another!”
Beer Style: New England IPA
SRM: 3-7, straw to deep gold
IBU: 25-60, may differ from perceived bitterness
The New England IPA style first showed up on beer nerd radar around 2011. It was then that the now famous Vermont, USA brewery-The Alchemist- began canning what we today refer to as ‘the granddaddy of New England IPAs,’ Heady Topper. It was here that the brewers experimented with a traditional IPA recipe by deciding to neither filter nor pasteurize the beer. Following suit and inspired by granddad’s mystical haze, numerous independent breweries within the New England region of the United States began producing hazy IPAs. And thus, a style was born.
The path to world domination didn’t end there. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until after the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines were released that this style began to command a presence outside of the New England region and begin its rise to sudsy stardom. To even further complicate its climb to the top of beer mountain, New England IPA was not an “official” style in the eyes of the Brewer’s Association until 2018, when they finally added “Juicy or Hazy IPA” as an official beer category. That brings us to today, where beer enthusiasts throughout the world agree that this juicy beast demands respect, for it has risen from its humble beginnings to become one of the most sought after styles by both consumers and brewers alike.
The most noticeable difference to the lay beer drinker when drinking a New England IPA versus another style of IPA is the obvious hazier appearance. For example, if you were to pour Jedi Juice, a NEIPA by Aussie based brewery Hop Nation, next to its well known sister, an American IPA called The Chop, you would immediately notice the difference in both color and clarity. Jedi Juice would pour a yellowish orange color with an obvious opaque haze, whilst The Chop would pour a clear, light golden hue. Head retention on both styles are good but the head on a New England IPA is oftentimes said to have a ‘meringue-like’ consistency; dense, creamy, and dreamy, like the filling of grandma’s homemade crème pie.
When held to your nose, you can be sure of one thing, New England IPAs will provide your nose with a full-bodied, hop-forward aroma full of typically fruity qualities. Tropical fruit, stone fruit and citrus are most commonly present, as these are the aromas associated with the American and New World hop varieties used in this style of beer. Excessively grassy, piney or herbaceous undertones should not be prevalent in the aroma as these characteristics are more acceptable in American IPAs.
Hop heavy and fruit focused is the name of the game here. Hop varieties like the ones found in Jedi Juice (Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin, Citra & Mosaic) are commonly associated with ripe or overripe tropical fruits. The flavor of these fruits, such as guava, pineapple, mango and passion fruit, are what give a New England IPA its ‘juice-like’ taste, though some New England IPAs can and do lean towards a more citrus character. Whilst American IPAs like The Chop tend to pride themselves on bold, bitter notes on the tongue, bitterness is a secondary trait in a New England IPA. Bitterness is more moderate here, with perceived bitterness often being masked by the smooth body and finish of the beer. The aftertaste strikes a winning balance of mild hop character and neutral malt flavor. Stronger versions of this style, as with other IPAs, may have a light alcohol character, but it should not be considered hot or burning.
Soft, silky and smooth; just like a pillowy cloud. New England IPAs have a medium to full body with a creamy mouthfeel that quickly quenches the thirst. Refreshing with a moderate bit of fruity sweetness that lingers on the tongue. Carbonation levels vary but are most typically moderate. An alcoholic warmth can be found in stronger variations but is not overpowering.
So there it is! An inside look into one of today’s most beloved styles of beer. If you’re wanting to put my knowledge to the test and try out some super tasty New England IPAs for yourself, then make sure you check out Hop Nation Jedi Juice, Deeds Brewing Juice Train, and AleBrowar DDH Citra + Mosaic, all found on our website and delivered fresh to your door. And for the best drinking experience, remember that like many of us here in Thailand, New England IPAs don’t fare well in the heat, so keep it cold and drink it fresh!
Jen LeVasseur is an avid craft beer drinker and occasional homebrewer who loves traveling the world to taste different brews. She currently lives in Bangkok, Thailand where she is studying to become a certified BJCP Beer Judge. You can follow all of her beer related adventures on Instagram at hungry4beer.