One of the more commonly seen styles in recent years is the New England IPA or NEIPAs. It is a fairly new style in the world of craft beer and is originally brewed in Vermont, a rather small state in the New England region of the United States.
Made famous somewhere 14 years ago, this new style started with Heady Topper, a cult beer made by The Alchemist brewery. The brewer John Kimmich experimented with an IPA recipe and decided not to filter or pasteurise the beer, resulting in this hazy, golden liquid goodness.
So what exactly is a New England IPA?
New England IPAs are beers that are purposely hazy or cloudy, which can give these brews a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. In fact, they’re quite the opposite from the West Coast IPAs which often leaves a slightly drier finish. NEIPAs also have little to no hop bitterness and uses tropical, juicy and sweet hops rather than the classic bitter, mouth puckering and citrusy hops of the West Coast styles.
The haziness in NEIPAS is caused by a variety of techniques that brewers say are primarily aimed at enhancing aromas and creating a smooth, creamy mouthfeel while also reducing the harsh bitterness associated with more conventional IPAs. Certain yeast strains were also used, leaving fruity esters in the beer and creating suspended matter which helped make the “haze”.
Hops were also added late into the boil, approximately an hour before completing the boiling process. This is to enhance the hop aromas while extracting less of the alpha acids that provide the bitterness to beers. They look akin to orange juice, smell and taste like fresh fruit salad.
In essence, New England IPA is just one of the latest additions to the IPA style, although a rather unique one at that. NEIPAs differ from other IPAs as it’s unfiltered and has extremely low bitterness in comparison to its close relatives. They are often dry-hopped and tend to be fermented to have midrange carbonation.
Is NEIPA the same as a hazy IPA?Yes and No. It depends on how much of a beer geek you are and if definitions really matter a whole deal to you. In our opinion, there is actually little to no difference. Most people are not discerning enough and usually use both terms interchangeably. Check out some of the NEIPAs that we have here!
Regardless, NEIPA is not only defined by the haze and lighter body feel but also with a more tropical or citrus fruit aroma and flavours brought on by the type of hops used. The tropical fruity and citrusy flavours in the NEIPA can sometimes be referred to as Juicy IPA as well. All three terms, NEIPA, Hazy IPA and Juicy IPA refer to the same style of beer.
Ultimately, it’s about you as a beer consumer. Is a clear definition of these two styles really important to you, or does it not matter as long as the beer tastes good and you enjoy it after a hard day at work?