Craft Beer: Lifting a glass to hazy days
THE rise of the crystal-clear pilsner lager sparked a frenzy for sparkling, golden beer almost from the moment the first barrels rolled out of Plezn in what now is referred to Czechia.
That moment of clarity made beer drinkers used to murky, opaque liquid begin to demand that they could see through their drinks.
German and Czech immigrants brought this insistence on sparkling, golden beer to the new world and eventually we would see pale imitations in the form of the ubiquitous light lagers across the USA.
However, it was the same country which started to make things all a bit hazy again towards the end of the 20th century when the bi-coastal craft beer scene ramped up the hops and banked that the look of the beer was secondary to the lively aromas and flavours.
There is some science behind it in all and it mostly occurs when hops are added during fermentation – a process known as dry hopping. Polyphenols from these additional hops, together with protein in the beer from the malt sugars, combine to create the haze.
The hazy approach reached its zenith with the arrival of the New England IPA, but beer drinkers have now come to expect a certain amount of haze with all hop-forward beers so much so that many breweries proudly bill some of their beers as hazy.
It wasn't long before the haze craze made its way back across the Atlantic and Irish and British brewers have embraced in wholeheartedly.
I had a couple of self-confessed hazy beers from a few English brewers in the last week or so.
First up is People, Money, Space, Time – a 3.8 per cent hazy pale ale from Verdant.
Although it's the hops which often bring the murk, this one may owe some of its haze to a malt bill which includes oats and wheat as well as malted barley.
The punchy, tropical flavours come from the hops though – specifically Citra and Mosaic. The Mosaic brings a lovely fruit and juicy flavour to proceedings while the Citra provides an understated bitterness and sharp finish.
Next up is Hop, Skip and Juice, a 5.7 per cent hazy pale ale originally brewed by Vocation in collaboration with Marble.
As the name suggests, this has juicy flavours with a lively citrus edge due to the Citra and Simcoe hops.