Ever since famed Vermont brewer John Kimmich brewed the first New England-style IPA back in 2004 (Heady Topper, for those wondering), we’ve been in love with this hazy, juicy, tropical fruit-filled IPA style. I remember the first time I ever drank a hazy IPA and how the creamy flavor and sweetness, while still having a nice (yet not bitter) hops presence, knocked my proverbial socks off.
West Coast IPAs, get their bitterness from adding more hops during the boil stage at high heat, thus bringing more biting, sometimes aggressive bitterness. And while there’s a time and place for dank, piney West Coast IPA action, I find myself craving a ride on the fruitier, sweeter side far more often. New England-style IPAs get their juicy flavors from having hops added after the boil and during the fermentation process. (You’re also likely to find a lot of dry-hopping to add even bolder flavors.)
In the years since Heady Topper started an IPA revolution, the style has become increasingly popular, leaving the confines of Vermont (although many breweries there still make their own hazy IPAs) far behind. Craft breweries from Petaluma to Palm Beach have made their fair share of these juicy, hazy bangers. As have some of the largest, most popular breweries in America. And while Sierra Nevada and its iconic Hazy Little Thing always hits the spot, want to take a look at some of the lesser-known, underrated hazies out there.
From Belching Beaver to Modern Times and even Port City, today the smaller brands get their due. To do this, I picked eight underrated hazy IPAs and nosed, tasted, and ranked them. Keep scrolling to see how everything turned out.
- Belching Beaver Hazers Gonna Haze
- Modern Times Orderville
- Sweetwater H.A.Z.Y. IPA
- Clown Shoes Rainbows Are Real
- Heretic Make America Juicy Again
- Terrapin High and Hazy
- Port City Hazy IPA
- Ommegang Neon Rainbows
Part 1: The Taste
Aromas of tangerine, pineapple, sweet malts, and just a hint of dank pine are prevalent on the nose. The palate is loaded with orange, pineapple, grapefruit, caramel malts, and gentle hoppy bitterness. The finish is a mix of bitter dryness and tropical fruit juice.
Tropical fruit galore on this beer’s nose with mango, peach, and dank pine taking center stage. The palate is slightly more exciting with notes of pine needles, grassy hops, dank, citrus, and slightly floral flavors. The aroma was fruity, but the palate is a little more hop-centric, spicy, and floral than I personally prefer.
It lacks the juicy, fruity element most hazy IPAs have.
Grapefruit, orange peel, mango, peach, and spicy, floral hops are found on the nose. The palate keeps this trend with more citrus peels and juicy tropical fruit flavor. But the dank, slightly piney, bitter hops make a big appearance at the backend, making this is different beer than its hazy appearance would make it seem.
The nose has a mix of bready malts as well as tangerine, pineapple, mango, and citrus rinds. It’s inviting, but sadly the palate is thinner than expected with dank pine, tangerine, and sweet malts making the most noteworthy appearances. It’s sweet, dank, and juicy, but more watery than anticipated.
It starts with a nose of lemongrass, orange pulp, and lime zest and delves into bready malts, and earthy, floral, slightly dank pine. Drinking it reveals notes of caramel, slight pepper, biscuit-like malts, as well as tangerine, grapefruit, mango, and gentle, pleasing hop bitterness at the finish.
The aroma is dank pine, tangerine, pineapple, mango, and grassy, earthy hops. The palate is slightly herbal with notes of dank pine, earthy, grassy, slightly spicy hops, orange, pineapple, mango, and ripe peaches. The finish has a slightly bitter, citrus kick that leaves you wanting more.
A nose of wet grass and bright citrus starts off great. The problem is there’s nothing else noticeable on the nose. The palate continues this trend with some melon rind, pineapple, tangerine, and sweet tropical flavors. The finish is sweet with very little bitterness.
Overall, not a bad beer. It’s just a little sweet and one-dimensional for my liking.
Complex aromas of lemon peels, orange pulp, mango, and pineapple are notable on the nose. The flavor, while propped up with tangerine, lime, grapefruit, and juicy tropical fruit flavors, also has a nice sweet, malty backbone and a lightly bitter, piney finish. A truly complex hazy IPA.
Part 2: The Rankings
8) Terrapin High and Hazy (Taste 7)
Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack
This 5.8% hazy IPA is brewed with 2-row malts, wheat, and flaked oats. It gets its hoppy, citrus-filled flavor profile from the addition of Citra, Simcoe, and Idaho 7 hops. To add to that, it’s dry-hopped with even more Citra, Simcoe, and Idaho 7 hops at the end of the brewing process.
If you enjoy very sweet citrus-filled hazy IPAs, this is the beer for you. Otherwise, keep looking for something with a little more balance and complexity.
7) Sweetwater H.A.Z.Y. IPA (Taste 4)
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack
This highly complicated hazy IPA is brewed with 2-row malts, oats, and wheat as well as Mosaic, Citra, El Dorado, and Azacca hops. It’s dry-hopped with Mosaic, Citra, El Dorado, Azacca, and additionally Simcoe hops.
This is the kind of New England-style IPA you’ll likely start your journey with and then eventually move on to something bolder and more flavorful. Rather unexciting.
6) Clown Shoes Rainbows Are Real (Taste 2)
Average Price: $13.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
We all know that rainbows are real, we just didn’t know that we wanted to drink them until right now. This hazy IPA proves it with a mix of sweet malts and Mosaic, Citra, and Azzaca hops. The addition of the terpenes Beta-Pinene and Linalool gives it extra juicy, bright flavors.
If you’re more of a West Coast IPA fan who is looking to try a hazy IPA, this is a great beer for you. If you prefer beers that more resemble orange juice than beer, this isn’t the one for you.
5) Modern Times Orderville (Taste 1)
Average Price: $12.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
This 7.2% ABV hazy IPA is brewed with two-row and optic malts. It gets its fruity, juicy flavor from Mosaic hops as well as a bunch of unlisted “dank” hops. The result is a juicy, fruity, slightly dry hazy IPA that appeals to all IPA fans.
This is an interesting beer. It doesn’t know whether it wants to be a sweet, juicy tropical hazy IPA, or a piney, slightly bitter West Coast IPA.
4) Heretic Make America Juicy Again (Taste 3)
Average Price: $12.99 for a six-pack
This 6.5% ABV hazy IPA is a comic, beer-centric take on a phrase we’ve all heard many times in the last few years. It gets its tropical fruit, citrus, and slight bitterness from Mosaic, Citra, and the lesser-known Belma hops.
This beer looks like it will be an absolute juice bomb. But it’s not and that’s okay. There are more bitter, floral, dank hops than many hazy IPA fans will be prepared for. Drink it anyway, You’ll be glad you did.
3) Port City Hazy IPA (Taste 8)
Average Price: $13.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
This year-round, 6.8% ABV hazy IPA was brewed to have a complex mix of caramel malts and juicy tropical and citrus fruits. It’s loaded with flavors like mango, ripe peaches, orange peel, and just the right amount of hop bitterness.
While I love a great juicy, hazy, tropical fruit-filled New England-style IPA. I can also understand the appeal of a hazy IPA balanced between citrus, tropical fruits, malts, and bitter hops.
2) Ommegang Neon Rainbows (Taste 5)
Average Price: $14.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
This juicy, fruity, complex hazy IPA is unfiltered and brewed with London ale yeast before being double dry-hopped with Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe, Centennial, and Topaz hops.
While this beer does has a complex, well-balanced flavor profile, it also has a more tropical and citrus-based juicy, creamy flavor than some of the other hazy IPAs on this list.
1) Belching Beaver Hazers Gonna Haze (Taste 6)
Average Price: $11.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
You absolutely know what you’re going to find when you crack open a beer called Hazers Gonna Haze. Brewed with 2-row malts, flaked oats, and malted oats as well as Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy hops, it’s known for its hazy, juicy, citrus, and tropical fruit-forward flavor.
This hazy IPA ticks all the boxes. It’s filled with tropical fruit and citrus flavors but has enough dank, earthy pine to appeal to all IPA drinkers. It’s a truly well-rounded, memorable beer.
Part 3: Final Thoughts
While balance is the name of the game when it comes to most beers, for hazy IPAs I usually look for massive juice bombs. And while Ommegang Neon Rainbows faired quite well, I was surprised to see a more piney, slightly bitter, hoppy beer take the top spot over some sweeter, juicier beers. That’s a testament to the craft of that brew — surpassing my own personal preferences!