The Haze Craze
This might not surprise you, but every time we tell someone that we’re brewers, they want to talk about beer. Every time! This is basically the equivalent of lawyers having to hear about everyone’s legal questions… except with beer, making it much more fun for everyone involved. Brewers love to talk about beer! So kids, put on your nerd hats, and let’s talk beer!
When we first opened 5 years ago, we actually had complaints from guests because some of our beers were hazy. Fast-forward to today, and hazy beers are everywhere, including one local brewery dedicating themselves almost completely to brewing Hazy IPAs. To truly understand what’s going on with hazy beers, we need to dive into some sciencey-stuff!
Brewers love to use big words that make us sound smart. Hang around brewers, and terms like colloidal stability, turbidity, and chloride to sulfate ratio will be thrown around like pickup lines at a singles resort. Understanding haze in beer doesn’t take all of those big words, though. It is simple. All beer is hazy. All of it.
For centuries, brewers have worked to find ways to make beer clear and pretty. Filtration systems have been developed and temperature controls have become more and more efficient allowing for long cold storage of beer. Brewers have developed mashing methods and fining agents to add to the brewhouse to help the beer be more clear. But the truth is, unless someone removes the haze, all beer is somewhat hazy.
So, why are hazy beers all of a sudden so popular, and why are drinkers chasing the haze? The answer to that question is more about human nature than about beer. Brewers emulate brewers, and trends are born. A few breweries in New England have been making IPAs for years that have very few bittering hops and big dry hops (hops added after fermentation), so that they have a fruitier and more juicy flavor. They also add wheat for soft mouthfeel. The combination of unique yeast strains, wheat, and lots of hops created a natural haze in those beers. In recent years, brewers in other parts of the country began to try their hands at those type of IPAs, and like everything in the craft beer world, a craze was born. This has led to brewers using all kinds of methods to create more haze, even though haze has no taste and adds nothing to the beer. It became about the haze instead of about the flavor. Some brewers have even added flour to their mashes… because it is craft beer and we brewers love to turn a trend into a craze and eventually into something we hate.
So, do we brew hazy beer here at Persimmon Hollow? Yes, because we don’t filter any of our beers. Some will have more haze due to yeast, wheat, or hops. Some will be bright and clear because of time, temperature, and traditional brewing techniques.
Here at Persimmon Hollow, we don’t chase trends, and you won’t find eight Hazy IPAs on our menu. You will find one, Gypsy Hiker, which we gave a nice punch of piney Lumberjack Hops, along with fruity Cascade and Mosaic, to make it unique and different from the beers out there that taste like orange juice. We just kegged a fresh batch of it this week, so come in and give it a try. We hope it is hazy enough for you!
Thanks for reading all of the nerd talk, and until next time, may your life be full of colloidal stability and contain very little turbidity!