Yes, we are all still crazy about India Pale Ales (commonly known as “IPAs”). Why? I dunno, maybe because they are so dang delicious. But regardless, whether you are on the IPA-train or not, it is undeniable that you can’t find an authentic beer establishment that doesn’t stock a slew of them in their coolers.
Did you know that the style was coined in a newspaper article in the Syney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in August, 1829 (ref. http://zythophile.co.uk/2013/05/14/the-earliest-use-of-the-term-india-pale-ale-was-in-australia/). Yes, the same dudes who came up with Foster’s Lager were into the “IPAs” it seems! The term is a reference to the route in which the beer was shipped from England to India and identified the beer as having a higher alcohol content to preserve the tasty elixir for its’ long journey.
New to the IPA-world, however, are beers dubbed as “NE-style” IPAs. The “NE-style” refers to New England or Northeast (depending on who you ask) and is a new sub-style of Imperial IPA that is getting a lot of attention. Currently, the #1 IPA on both Rate Beer and Untappd is Julius, a NE-style IPA from Tree House Brewing in Massachusetts (which, incidentally, is both in New England and the North East). Other brands dubbed “NE-style” include Marz NE MDW Chi-PA, Hailstorm Stratus and the new Reply Hazy Try Again 16 oz can.
The distinguishing characteristic of NE-Style IPAs are their earthy, woodsy hop profile (a la Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA) versus the citrusy, piney, dank, resin-y hop profile of Pacific Northwest hops, like a Sculpin IPA. NE-Style IPAs use fruity, tropical hops (lots of sweet grapefruit, mango, and pineapple type flavors), combined with the addition of oats and wheat to the recipe, and then leave it unfiltered. The oats and the wheat create an incredibly soft palate that allows the hop flavors to be expressed as extremely juicy. They also create a lot of haze in beer — hazy to the point that it looks milky, kind of like pulp-rich orange juice. The haze comes from two things: i) it’s unfiltered, and ii.) the oats and wheat have a lot more protein than typical barley and those proteins create a lot of haze. The Marz NE MDW Chi-PA is the best example that we’ve seen of how hazy it should be. Anyway, that’s your quick synopsis on NE-style IPAs. They’re all the rage right now, so expect to see them more and more and go try one! Now you know.