Although he’s co-owner of Urban Roots Brewing & Smokehouse in Sacramento, California, Rob Archie admits he’s not a fan of most West Coast IPAs. In fact, he almost avoided them. Like many other beer drinkers who first fell in love with Belgian beers, he found IPAs to be unbalanced bitter bombs.

Pliny the Elder showed him that a balanced IPA was possible. But that didn’t prepare him for his first sip of New England IPA, made in 2012 by Vermont brewery Hill Farmstead.

Did I look like I said who it was? It’s a sweet hella, Archie said. This is no ordinary IPA. It is soft and buttery. It’s a lemon juice appetizer in hollandaise sauce. The brewer simply said it was an unfiltered IPA.

Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery / Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brewing Company.

This inspired Archie to make his own IPAs, like Playground Tactics, with its citrusy, fresh notes. Beer Lab’s Honolulu restaurants serve Chirashi, an opaque, sunny beer with notes of pink grapefruit and flowers. Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, just released a colorful spring blues called Pulp Art. The colored glass indicates that the IPA is hopped in a tropical manner.

If it seems like Hazy IPAs are everywhere, that’s because they are. According to the Brewers Association’s forecast for 2021, juicy beers with fruity flavors will be very popular. They are easy to drink, especially for those who prefer less bitter beers. DIY stores sell troubled IPA kits, and the forums are full of technical questions about how to make them.

As with the other styles, the cloudiness results from the interaction between yeast, malt grains and hops. But like pizza and chili, there are endless recipes for obscure IPAs.


Heady Topper, from Vermont brewery The Alchemist/Alami

Rotten Fog

Long ago, all brewers tried to brew a clear, cloudy beer. When Vermont brewer Alchemist launched Handy Topper in 2004, it quietly started a revolution.

This has confused many brewers, says Chris White, co-owner of White Labs, a San Diego-based fermentation yeast supplier and brewer. It was very controversial.

The beer examined was filtered to remove turbidity. Cloudy beer was considered a mistake. But skipping the filtration process results in a cloudier, more flavorful beer.

Another easy way to make mist is to use the yeast that floats in the brew. Most brewing yeasts clump or coagulate. It will sink to the bottom of the tank or rise to the surface when fermentation is complete, White says. Traditional beer makers avoided non-flocculating yeasts like his WLP008 strain.

We had this yeast in our cans for 20 years, but it wasn’t as popular because people didn’t want to drink cloudy beer, White says. It is one of our best-selling yeast strains.

Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery / Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brewing Company.

Misty Cymburgy

A typical beer recipe combines a small amount of hops and yeast with lots of grain, usually barley, which is germinated and dried in a process called malting. In addition to the aroma and sugar from the yeast, the malt grains provide the beer with proteins.

Higher protein levels are essential to making an advanced IPA, says Nick Wong, co-founder of Honolulu Beer Lab with his wife Kaylee and two partners. Volatile compounds called alpha acids carry the aroma and flavor molecules of hops.

The way to add more hop aroma to beer is to give the hops [proteins] to hold onto, Wong says. A by-product of protein injection is turbidity.

Hannah Turner, director of the Barley, Malt and Beer Quality Laboratory at Montana State University / Photo: Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

Brewers who want to moderate can add malted or flaked oats or unsalted wheat to increase the protein content. The extra grain also provides a silky smooth texture, said Hannah Turner, director of the barley quality, malting and brewing laboratory at Montana State University’s barley breeding program.

They can offer some of the fuzzy aspects and sensations you’d expect from a New England IPA, she says.

Beer lovers should know that there are brewers who add texture with lactose sugar. It increases viscosity, just as the lactic acid from malolactic fermentation makes Chardonnay creamier, but this can cause a reaction in those who want to avoid lactose intolerance.

Once the brewer has created a protein-rich solution, it’s time to add hops. Some Hazy brewers add the hops late so that the aromatic compounds appear in the finished beer. Others add the hops early in the process, giving the volatiles time to mix with the proteins, Wong explains.

Aerial view of Montana State University research plots / Photo: Lack of Dylan

Beer Lab adds hops to the brew to create layers of fresh, fruity aromas and flavors. The blend of five hops in Chirashi includes Galaxy, which gives off notes of passion fruit, peach and citrus; Mandarina, known for its citrus and passion fruit notes; and Mosaic, which may feature blueberry, bubblegum, rose or pine.

Our flavor profile is more drinkable and refreshing, says Kaylee Wong. They are quite tropical and juicy. Sometimes people ask: Did you put oranges in it? Everything comes from the hops we put out.

Each brewery has a different approach to creating the haze, which keeps the category exciting.

By using different techniques, different yeasts and different hops, we get a wide range of different mists, says White. They’re not all the same, which is cool.

frequently asked questions

What makes APIs disorderly?

The type of grain, malt and additives used in the main beer also contribute to cloudiness. Most Muddy IPAs are brewed with a small amount of protein-rich grains such as oats, spelt and wheat, which can give a pronounced soft, mellow body and contribute to a cloudy beer.

What is the difference between IPA and IPA mist?

WHAT IS A MISTY IPA? Hazy IPAs, also known as New England IPAs, juicy IPAs, East Coast IPAs and unfiltered IPAs, have taken the brewing industry by storm. They are usually less bitter and have a juicy, tropical flavor. English IPAs also have a richer or creamier mouthfeel and are generally sweeter.

Most breweries are producing not only IPAs, pilsners and stouts, but also more and more obscure IPAs. … A careful balance of technique and ingredient selection, often with the addition of wheat or oats, gives this popular American IPA variety an enticing cloudiness.

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