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We Blind Taste Tested Hazy IPAs To Find The Best Of The Bunch

When it comes to summery, warm weather beers, it’s pretty difficult to top the hazy IPA (though, to be fair, we like a lot of beers this time of year). Oftentimes referred to as the New England-style IPA, this juicy, cloudy, tropical fruit-forward, subtly bitter beer is utterly thirst-quenching on a hot, sunny day.

If you’re new to IPAs (or the beer world in general), New England IPAs are known for their hazy, unfiltered appearance. Due to their mellow, juice-like, downright fruity flavor profiles, they offer a natural respite from West Coast IPAs with their dry, dank, sometimes overly bitter notes. And with West Coast IPAs having dominated for a long time, hazys have grown increasingly popular as a sort of IPA counterpoint — with breweries from Miami to Malibu typically offering a version or two on their menu boards.

Since summer is quickly approaching, we’re on the lookout for the best New England-style IPAs to stock the fridge with. To winnow the field, we decided to try a blind taste test. Without seeing names like Sierra Nevada and Two Roads on the can, it’s much easier to rate the brews on merits alone. As always, we encourage you to scout local breweries and support them as often as possible; but just in case you don’t have a brewery close, we used eight beers from well-known, larger brands.

Part 1: The Taste

For this test, I selected eight hazy IPAs you can easily find at your local grocery store or an online retailer. I didn’t just pick random beers though. These are some of the highest-rated New England IPAs on the market. I blindly sipped each, gave my notes, and ranked them according to taste alone.

    • Two Roads Teo Juicy
    • Firestone Walker Mind Haze
    • Lagunitas Hazy Wonder
    • Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing
    • Elysian Contact Haze
    • Brooklyn Pulp Art
    • Sam Adams Wicked Hazy
    • Bell’s Official Hazy

Let’s do this thing!

Taste 1:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

Immediately, I was struck with intense flavors of candied orange peels, pineapples, grapefruit, sweet malts, and a nice piney, resinous scent. The flavor is littered with lime peels, ripe, juicy orange, caramel malts, and a nice kick of bitter, floral hops at the very end that signal this as a west coast produced beer.

Taste 2:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

This beer’s aroma is all orange peels, lemon zest, and a little bit of pine. There’s not much else going on there. The flavor is filled with tangerines, limes, sweet malts, and just a bit of bitter hops presence. While crushable, it’s a little lackluster in the flavor department.

As far as hazy IPAs go, I expect more tropical fruit flavors.

Taste 3:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

This hazy, orange-juice like brew is filled with tropical fruit aromas of guava, mango, passion fruit, and pineapples. But that’s not all. I also noticed a good deal of grapefruit and lime zest. The flavor is just like the nose in that it’s all juicy tropical fruits and bright citrus flavors. It’s all tempered with a nice, sweet malt finish.

This is a complex, sweet, malty, hazy IPA that I plan to drink all summer long.

Taste 4:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

There’s a bouquet of aromas right off the bat. I smelled ripe berries, mango, grapefruit, and ripe oranges. There’s also a slight hint of piney hops as well. It’s swirling with notes of pineapple, mango, lime zest, and a nice subtle, bitter hoppy finish. It’s a full-flavored, multi-dimensional beer that I’d crack open on a hot, summer day.

Taste 5:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

On the first sniff, there wasn’t much going on in the aroma department. This was surprising because it’s cloudy and juicy in appearance. After spending a few more moments, I noticed ripe tangerines, biscuity-like malts, and some resin. There’s a surprising amount of wheat in the first sip as well as a wallop of lime zest, grapefruit, and lemon peels. Definitely lacking in the tropical fruit department, but overall a decent beer.

I’ll come back for a second look at this one.

Taste 6:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

The hop-presence is notable from the first nosing. I was greeted with aromas of grapefruit, orange, lime, and lemon zest as well as juicy tropical fruits. Taking a sip, revealed a world of orange creamsicle, pineapple, mango, sweet malts, and a nice, gentle bitter hops flavor at the very end.

In a list of great beers, this is by far my favorite so far.

Taste 7:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

As expected for a hazy, the nose is filled with hints of guava, mango, pineapple, and a lot of citrus. But there’s also a good deal of resinous pine. My first sip was filled with flavors like juicy orange, pineapple, grapefruit, and sweet malts. It’s more bitter and floral than most New England-style IPAs, but that’s not such a bad thing.

Taste 8:

Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

This beer smells slightly dank with a good deal of citrus and wet grass. There are also some sweet malt scents in the background. On the palate, this beer isn’t as sweet as I expected. For a New England-style IPA, it’s fairly bitter with hints of mango and ripe grapefruit. All in all, it’s an okay beer.

Definitely not something to tell your friends about though.

Part 2: The Ranking

The best aspect of blind taste tests is the surprises. Regardless of how well-acquainted you are with the beers, not seeing a label is sure to make things interesting. Take a look below to find out how things ended up.

8) Brooklyn Pulp Art (Taste #2)

Brooklyn

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

A recent addition to the world of hazy IPAs, Brooklyn Pulp Art was launched in March. It’s Brooklyn’s first foray into the hazy IPA world and it pays homage to the Pulp Art movement. The can is adorned with bright, vibrant art and the juice inside is brewed with Citra, Strata, and Simcoe hops and is filled with cloudy, tropical fruit and citrus flavors.

Bottom Line:

I’m a big fan of Brooklyn so I was surprised to see this new offering land so low on this list. It’s not a bad beer by any degree. It’s just not as hazy and flavorful as I would like.

7) Samuel Adams Wicked Hazy (Taste #8)

Samuel Adams

ABV: 6.8%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

This is the recent replacement for the brand’s New England IPA. It’s filled with Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, white wheat, and Golden Naked oats as well as Galaxy, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra, and Cascade hops. The result is a fruity, juicy, hazy beer well-suited for summer sipping.

Bottom Line:

I’m a Boston Lager fan from way back. This is why I was so surprised that I didn’t love this hazy IPA. I feel like it’s so close to being what it wants to be. It just needs to ramp up the tropical flavors a bit.

6) Bell’s Official Hazy (Taste #5)

Bell

ABV: 6.4%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

When it comes to Bell’s, you can pretty much spin around with your eyes close and grab any six-pack you see and you’ll be reasonably happy. Its inclusion in the hazy IPA world is Official Hazy. This double dry-hopped brew contains Mosaic, Citra, Azacca, Amarillo, and El Dorado hops. The result is a well-balanced beer that should appeal to hazy and hoppy beer fans alike.

Bottom Line:

Once again, I’m surprised to see that a brand like Bell’s produced a beer that is low in the guava, mango, and pineapple flavors hazy IPA drinkers expect. But it does have a nice citrus component that should appeal more to West Coast IPA fans.

5) Elysian Contact Haze (Taste #4)

Elysian

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

Elysian is one of the most well-known Seattle-based breweries of all time. Its Contact Haze is brewed with El Dorado, Mosaic, and Southern Passion hops. The result is a cavalcade of tropical, juicy flavors and bright, vibrant citrus notes. It’s known for its well-balanced, highly drinkable flavor.

Bottom Line:

I enjoy Elysian Space Dust and many of its other beers, but I didn’t expect Contact Haze to land at this spot. But I’m pleasantly surprised and will definitely enjoy a few of these bad boys this spring and summer.

4) Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing (Taste #7)

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $19.99 for a 12-pack

The Story:

If you look at any hazy IPA list, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing, and for good reason. This 6.7%, hazy brew is loaded with Two-Row Pale and Munich malts, oats, wheat, ale yeast, as well as Citra, Magnum, Simcoe, Comet, Mosaic, and El Dorado hops. It’s complex, layered, and incredibly flavorful.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason this beer often makes lists of “best hazy IPAs”. It’s a nice mix of tropical fruit, citrus, and hops. All in all a pretty well-rounded summer beer.

3) Two Roads Two Juicy (Taste #3)

Two Roads

ABV: 8.2%

Average Price: $15.99 for a 4-pack

The Story:

This highly-rated beer from Two Roads is known for its unfiltered, hazy, juicy flavor. It’s a potent 8.2% ABV and is brewed with Hallertauer Blanc, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria hops. The result is cloudy, double IPA filled with tropical fruits, citrus zest, and bright pine.

Bottom Line:

It’s almost unfair to include this hazy, double IPA. It’s so complex and full-flavored that it’s really hard to beat. I’m not surprised it landed where it did.

2) Lagunitas Hazy Wonder (Taste #1)

Lagunitas

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

With a name like Hazy Wonder, you can expect a hazy, fruity, juicy IPA. Brewed with Sabro, Citra, Cashmere, and Comet hops, this Northern California-made hazy IPA has a nice mix of tropical sweetness and bitter, floral hops presence.

It’s the closest thing to a West Coast/New England-style IPA hybrid.

Bottom Line:

As a fan of Lagunitas, it comes as no surprise that this hoppy, hazy beer found its place at this spot. Potentially the most well-rounded beer on this list, Hazy Wonder is a perfect mix of fruit and bitter hops.

1) Firestone Walker Mind Haze (Taste #6)

Firestone Walker

ABV: 6.2%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Story:

This is an immensely complicated beer. Brewed with two-row and Munich malts, as well as Torrified wheat, Blonde Roast oat, and kettled hopped with Mandarina and Cascade before being dry-hopped with Azacca, El Dorado, Mosaic, Chinook, Cashmere, Callista, and Idaho 7, it’s an absolute flavor bomb.

Bottom Line:

This beer took the top spot for one reason in particular. It ticks all the tropical fruit, haze, citrus, malt, and hops boxes for New England-style IPA fans. I think it’s the perfect nationally availible hazy.


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