As the craze of hazy style ales dominates the craft beer scene right now, Bay Area breweries are on top of the trend with no shortage of both Imperial and pale hazy ales this week. While we are seeing some daring concoctions this week such as beers made with 44 pounds of spicy peppers, most brewers have chosen to stay away from add-ins and focus on letting the hops speak for themselves.
Armistice Brewing — Over in Richmond, you can now get a pint of Frosted Tips, one of three hazy style beers on their taplist. This 6.3 percent alcohol IPA is juicy and full of citrus character from Mandarina, Bavarian and Citra hops. If you like dankness in beer, El Dorado hops lend a pungency to this mix, resulting in a well-balanced beverage perfect for hazy Spring days.
Novel Brewing — Back on tap over in Oakland is the Kupe pale ale made with 100 percent New Zealand hops. Dr. Rudi and Taiheke hops give mouthwatering aromas and flavors of lemongrass, watermelon and citrus in this drinkable 5.9 percent alcohol beer.
Barebottle Brewing — A number of great brews came out of Barebottle this week, including the Any Beans Necessary golden coffee ale. At 4.9 percent alcohol, this golden ale is smooth and light, fermented with whole coffee and vanilla beans that lend their respective aromas to a delicious beer that hints at berries, chocolate and nuttiness. It’s just like your morning cup of coffee, except this one has to stay concealed around the office.
Maybe this week you’re looking to be adventurous and try something new. Maybe you want to push your comfort zone and go skydiving, or enter a chilli eating contest. Well, now you almost can without leaving the confines of your favorite brewery. Try the Hella Jalapeño; a pepper cream ale made with 40 pounds of pasilla peppers and 4 pounds of jalapeños. This beer is smooth and herbaceous, and weighs in at 5.1 percent alcohol. If you love things with a little bit of heat, give this bad boy a whirl. It’s not exactly like entering a chilli eating contest, but hey, close enough.
Cellarmaker Brewing — On the taps at Cellarmaker this week is Otto’s Jacket, a clear and crisp West Coast IPA. This 7.3 percent alcohol IPA is hopped with Citra, Centennial and Columbus for pine and citrus aromas that give resinous character on the palate.
Another solid release to try is the Fuzzy Glow pale ale; a yeast forward play off of their former beer called The Glow. This hazy pale ale is fermented with yeast that has been used to bring out pear, melon and peach gummy aromas. Motueka, Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hops offer additional aromas of white grape and lychee, resulting in a final product that is ridiculously juicy, soft and not too bitter.
Devil’s Canyon Brewing — Released this weekend was the Vic Secret, a single hop and single malt IPA. It spotlights the Australian Vic Secret hop, which lends aromas and flavors of pine and fruit such as pineapple, passionfruit and melon. The beer is part of the San Carlos brewery’s sMaSH series, which aims to feature the robust characters of specific, single hops in lower alcohol beers.