Here For A Good Time, Not A Long Time
Here For A Good Time, Not A Long Time: The Fleeting Lifespan of the Hazy IPA. by Brandon Dellechiaie
When doing some research for this blog that I hope will encapsulate how I feel about the Hazy IPA (New England IPA) and why people would put so much time and effort into something so fleeting. I did some research and ran across a 2007 article from the Orange County Register about the Bearded Iris:
“Critics of bearded irises say the flowers are too fleeting, their lives too short, that they bloom for a few brief weeks in spring, then are gone until the next season.” – Pat Rubin, Iris lifespan is short, but dazzling
Too fleeting…life’s too short…homebrewers can relate. It feels like every time you flameout on a hazy, the clock of freshness starts ticking. While this can be said about most every beer, hazy beers have a timeframe that seems to be more sped up, the compounds more delicate and their peaks much shorter. So why would a home brewer spend so much time and effort on something that only lasts a short time?
I go back to my new buddies at the Orange County Register and the Bearded Iris:
“For those weeks the bearded irises are in bloom, it’s heaven on earth. The colors are magnificent, the combinations stunning, and the scent of the flowers perfumes the air like no other flower. It’s no wonder the genus was named for Iris, Greek goddess of the rainbow.” – Pat Rubin, Iris lifespan is short, but dazzling
When done correctly, no beer is more colorful, more aromatic, and more bursting with tropical fruit flavor as the Hazy IPA. When the grist has the perfect balance of base malts and flaked adjuncts, when the water has the right ratio of Calcium Chloride to Sulfate, when the hops have the right IBU for complexity coupled with the proper schedule/combination to release the oxygenated compounds, when the right yeast brings out those fruity esters it truly is heaven on earth, the mélange of flavors from both a visual and taste standpoint make the style one of the most popular, sought after, and delicious that’s ever been created.
As any Tupac Shakur or Notorious BIG fan can tell you, some of the best things in life are fleeting. The moments I cherish most might only last minutes or seconds. The first look when my Daughter Lea was born, eyes wide open, ready for the world. The little tear that came across my wife’s eye when I read my vows. These are the moments I play back when my daughter throws a tantrum or my wife can’t decide what she wants to order for dinner. I also have these memories centered around beer and, more specifically, hazy beers. I have had many nights with great friends that consisted of old school rap and sports debates, Trillium, Tree House, Monkish and Veil beers to keep us hydrated. I also cherish the countless hours I discuss (mostly argue) with my co-brewer Nick about hop compounds, mash temps, water profile, and recipe building surrounded by this style. So, in the case of the Hazy IPA, the question is this: is the juice worth the squeeze? As far as I’m concerned, you’re damn right it is.
Nothings meant to last forever, and I’m here for a good time, not a long time.
-Brandon Dellechiaie: Exit 12 Brewery