Just when you thought that the IPA frenzy was already a borderline obsessive trend, here comes another wave that is sure to ensue in multiplicitous variations moving forward. This seemingly has been the natural process for the development of IPAs as a whole, as they are brewed in a revolutionary style, copied by other breweries, and then given a particular twist that enunciates that brewery’s unique style. That’s not a bad thing, though!
Just think about all the other IPA trends that have come out over the years. The west coast craze, tropical fruit infusion mania, habanero or jalapeno spicing, and session dry-hopping all definitely come to mind. In all of these cases, breweries experimented with additive ingredients and the brewing process which in turn, produced beers that were so popular that they were emulated by other breweries and given a unique touch. Well, the New England style IPA is no different!
So, What Is the New England Style IPA?
The New England style IPA or simply called the New England IPA is an India Pale Ale that removes the filtration process from brewing, creating a very cloudy, turbid, and opaque beer. This is a drastic change, as IPA drinkers are accustomed to crisp and clear beers, as are most breweries. Additionally, the unfiltered beer changes up the taste all together with consumers getting a smooth and creamier taste, as opposed to, a hoppy, bitter, and crisp finish. These IPAs also utilize more tropical fruit tastes instead of citrusy fruits, normally associated with the west coast style.
What causes the unfiltered appearance, though? Some people believe that it’s a result of a heavy load of late dry-hopping that is characteristic of session IPAs, while others think that it might be yeast that refuse to settle and accumulate homogenously throughout the beer. The answer to this question hasn’t fully been answered, but it’s safe to say that it’s probably a combination of both. But for the important questions. Where did this style originate? What’s its history? And What does the future look like for the New England style IPA.
The New England Style IPA Is Born
It is rumored that this unique style all originated at The Alchemist brewery located in Stowe, Vermont. They developed a ground breaking and outrageously popular beer called Heady Topper that has gained mythical status amongst the hop head community, with people lining up outside their brewery just to purchase a small quantity at certain times of the year.
Well, fast forward a few years after The Alchemist’s rapid and consistent success and fellow Vermont breweries have taken notice and embraced this ground-breaking style. For this reason, there are handfuls of people who have lobbied for the official name to be renamed the Vermont Style IPA; however, due to the massive uptake of this style by numerous breweries all within a close proximity, the New England moniker makes more sense and thus, has stuck.
Since New England IPAs have hit the scene, there has been a widespread dispersion of breweries having their take at crafting this unfiltered goodness. This is not to say that everyone has been welcoming with open arms. There has been a bit of hesitation by the brewing community as a whole, but this has more to do with tradition and the usual clarity that beers have been accustomed to having. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with this style, people are just usually resistant to change.
Still, breweries in places such as California and Colorado have given in a tad and seem to be interested in giving it a try, at least. You heard it here, first. There will be a new IPA trend, that much is true. But just like the others that have come before, none will be supplanted, only added to a growing and diverse amount of options for IPA drinkers. So, feel rest assured if you are as over the top for the hazy and unfiltered liquid goodness that are New England style IPAs because they’re not going anywhere, any time soon.