Nick Carr on February 11, 2018 2 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Location Chico, CA Style American IPA (Unfiltered) ABV 6.7% IBU 40 Hops Magnum, Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, El Dorado, Comet Malts Two-row Pale, Munich, Oats, Acidulated Shelf Life Drink fresh! (Within 1 to 3 months) Suggested Glass IPA Glass Serving Temp 46-50°F Availability Year Round Food Pairings Grilled Tilapia w/ mango salsa, BBQ pork ribs, Sharp White Cheddar, Passion Fruit Sorbet It comes as little surprise Sierra Nevada’s first new release of 2018 follows a certain recent popularity trend. It’s the new “IT” style of the moment. Boston Beer has one. Stone has one. New Belgium has one. Now, Sierra Nevada has one. It’s the New England IPA. What is a New England-Style IPA? New England IPA is a bit like a mish-mash of the American IPA and English IPA. It is unflitered, which makes it cloudy. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy more akin to the English, but even more so; often using chloride in the water, and even an addition of oats or wheat, to further soften the feel. It concentrates more on tropical and fruity aromas and flavors. With little attention paid to the dank, piney, classic bitterness of what is normally considered an American IPA. Also, it’s usually fermented with a more character-driven yeast than other American IPAs might be. Unfortunately, it’s not an official style yet, or at least the Beer Judging Competition Program (BJCP) and the American Brewer’s Association haven’t given it their blessing, but it probably won’t be too long until it’s added and the American IPA style is split, giving us the West Coast IPA and New England IPA. The style was actually submitted for review as an official category to the Great American Beer Festival in 2017, but was not approved. Maybe things will be different this year. The claim for the origin of the New England IPA goes to The Alchemist Brewing Company’s Heady Topper. It was first brewed back in 2003 and quickly grew a following; zealous beer hunters willing to wait in long lines just to get a chance to purchase. Every time the company released Heady Topper it sold out in the blink of an eye. No doubt, this fueled neighboring brewers who saw dollar signs drifting in the proverbial “craft beer pond,” and quick as you please baited a hook with the hazy IPA and cast their lines. The haze craze stomped around in its home turf for a time, though it did manage to hook in a few particularly susceptible souls willing to travel outrageous distances for the chance to taste the juicy elixir. Beyond this, its spread has taken awhile, and the frenzy isn’t as frenzied anymore. It is more a slow wave of spreading popularity that has made other breweries sit up and say, “Hey now. Maybe we’d better get in on this.” Here’s Sierra Nevada’s take. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing. If you tasted this beer or have one in front of you while you read this review, please share your thoughts with everyone down in the comments below. The Pour: It pours a cloudy orange-yellow, reminding me of pineapple juice or a very thin fruit smoothie. There’s about a fingers worth of rocky bright white head atop, which settles into a tighter, smaller-bubbled form over the first couple of minutes. The Aroma: Aroma is bright and loaded with tropical fruit; passion fruit, apricot, pineapple, and some orangey citrus. Little signs of the malt. The Mouthfeel: Body has a decent medium weight. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy; light astringency toward the back. The Taste: Bright, like the aroma at the front. Tropical fruits lead; mango, mixed citrus, whispers of passion fruit, maybe slight hints of dried apricot. There’s a bit of bready sweet malt too, but not a whole lot. It transitions into pithy citrus and pineapple before low bitterness rises toward the back with some herbal notes. Slight grassy, peppery whispers float in the shadows. The finish is semi-dry leaving a subtle sense of fruit and low bitterness behind. FINISHING THOUGHTS This is a nice IPA, though I can’t help wondering how it compares to the small batch versions brewed on the east coast. Maybe one of these days…. It’s smooth mouthfeel, round body, and bright fruit are refreshing and sets it apart from its sibling, the West Coast IPA. The bitterness is mellow, yet still plenty noticeable. If you don’t go for extreme bitterness, but enjoy strong fruit character this beer will punch your ticket for a hazy mellow ride. And, if you’ve already tasted this one leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on it. Cheers!