We get it: Beer drinkers like hazy IPAs.
Craft beer fanatics don’t have to be from New England to enjoy the IPA style first popularized by breweries in that region. We have plenty of breweries in West Michigan and across the state that will sell you a 16-ounce can of OJ-inspired IPA.
It was easy to dismiss the style as a fad when it burst onto the scene last year. For starters, NEIPAs seemingly were brewed with unobtanium, as they sold out immediately and drew long lines at whatever brewery was releasing them on a Tuesday at 4:20 p.m. Their unicorn status, it seemed, became part of their hype.
Fast forward to the present, and even Meijer carries NEIPA brands like Old Nation Brewing Co.’s M-43, which it often sells on sale at $12.99 per four-pack.
That new-found availability led us to want to revisit the style in a formal Revue Taste-Off. In April 2017, Revue highly recommended M-43, citing its juicy citrus aroma, smooth body, balance and drinkability in a tasting against NEIPAs from a handful of Michigan breweries. However, that tasting was more of an introduction to the style, to see how the beers compared.
This time, we wanted to see how it stacked up in a blind tasting. So we gathered some brands that were available at mid-month in March and pitted them against one another in a taste-off.
Here are the results:
Old Nation Brewing Co., Williamston
Well, well. It seems we meet again. Old Nation has made its name on the idea that #HazeIsGood, and they continue to deliver. The beer pours like OJ without the pulp, with a thick body and juicy flavors. It’s certainly become Michigan’s standard-bearer for the style.
Nawt A Cawp
Griffin Claw Brewing Co., Birmingham
This beer looks the part, with the classic hazy pour. The hops in the aroma lean toward the citrus variety, with notes of orange and grapefruit. Some said it tasted like a beermosa. It offers a refreshing, juicy flavor, although it’s slightly let down by its body.
Ellison Brewery & Spirits, East Lansing
OK, so maybe this isn’t a NEIPA, but it certainly is of the hazy variety. This beer was more tropical in aroma, with a more traditional IPA flavor and finish. Think piney bitterness, with that familiar sharp aftertaste. All in all, we liked it.
Starving Artist Brewing Co., Ludington
This wasn’t as hazy as the others, but the nose was bursting with fruity notes. The body held up well, although the hop-heavy flavor and finish leaned more toward the traditional IPA style than the soft notes of a NEIPA. Enjoyable, if not quite on the bandwagon of the moment.
Juice Bigalow, Hop Gigolo
Rochester Mills Beer Co., Auburn Hills
Tangerine Space Machine
New Holland Brewing Co., Holland
Tapistry Brewing Co., Bridgman