In March 2018, the Brewers Association announced that they were adding three new style categories to their beer competition roster: Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale, Juicy or Hazy IPA and Juicy or Hazy Double IPA. These additions were met with both excitement and consternation by brewers and drinkers. They amounted to an acknowledgment that the New England Style IPA — characterized by low bitterness, intense hop flavor and turbid appearance — was a beer style unto itself.
Without a doubt, the emergence of the East Coast-inflected pale has been seismic. Seemingly every brewer, from the tiniest micro in the tiniest town to Boston Beer Company, feels compelled to make one.
The 2018 Great American Beer Festival wraps today. In the capacity-packed Bellco Theatre at the Colorado Convention Center, Competition Manager Chris Swersey announced over 300 beers and breweries while founder Charlie Papazian fist-bumped the winners and posed for group photos.
Over nearly two hours the announcements went on, and I was glad to see several breweries from my region take home hardware: Bronx brewer Gun Hill (Bronze-Rye Beer, for Rise Up Rye), Captain Lawrence Brewing of Elmsford, NY (Bronze-Fruited American Style Sour Ale, for Flaming Fury), Kane Brewing of Ocean, NJ (Silver-Wood Barrel Aged Strong Stout, for A Night to End All Dawns), and Village Idiot of Mount Holly, NJ (Silver-Belgian Style Tripel, for their tripel ale). Also of note, Cincinnati’s Brink Brewing was named Very Small Brewer of the Year.
It all culminated with the first-ever winners of the Juicy/Hazy IPA categories. So without any further ado, your inaugural Juicy/Hazy medalists (none of which were brewed in New England) are:
Gold: Voodoo, Tin Room Brewing Company, Baton Rouge, LA
Silver: Sippin on Dank 2.0, Kings Brewing Company,Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Bronze: Madame Psychosis, Fiction Beer Company, Denver, CO
Gold: Le Jus, Alarmist Brewing, Chicago, IL
Silver: Fairy Nectar London – Double Dry Hopped, Kros Strain Brewing, La Vista, NE
Bronze: Foiken Haze, ERIS Brewery & Cider House, Chicago, IL
Gold: New England Style Double IPA, Black Market Brewing Company, Temecula, CA
Silver: DDH Double IPA, Corridor Brewery and Provisions, Chicago, IL
Bronze: Contains No Juice, Alvarado Street Brewery, Monterrey, CA
Certainly, the announcements of these three categories drew fevered excitement from the crowd. The Juicy/Hazy IPA category alone drew 391 entries, the most of any group.
“Maybe we can stop dissing this as a fad,” Swersey mused from the podium, “I say we drink them.”