From the Beer Writer: Believe it or not, there are still San Diego County breweries that don’t produce Northeast-style IPAs. Granted, there aren’t all that many of them…and now there’s one less thanks to Iron Fist Brewing‘s first-time foray into this hazy style of India pale ale. It’s not surprising that it took them a while to jump on the haze train; when Iron Fist launched back in 2010, they brewed almost exclusively Belgian-style ales. The brewery’s portfolio has undergone numerous adaptations since then, and now there’s Hazy Hippie Trail, the third and latest offering from Iron Fist’s small-batch series. Brewed to debut just before 4/20 (the beer will go on tap today at the company’s tasting rooms in Vista and Barrio Logan), it harnesses the inherent grapefruit and tangerine-like flavors of Citra hops, along with dank, resinous character from the Amarillo varietal. Forward in its hoppiness and more lastingly bitter than most NEIPA’s, its boldness belies its 6.5% ABV stat. That said, that number and the beer’s overall smoothness make it good for a prolonged hang.
From the Brewer: “Hazy IPAs feel almost fad-like in the market right now, so, as with all fads, we thought it better to relax a little and wait to jump on the bandwagon. We wanted to develop something that represented how we brew rather than being first to the market. The vision here was to brew a quality hazy beer. The theory with haze is that protein and yeast haze will hold onto the hop flavors and release them with a bang; mouthfeel is increased and the drinker has a full-bodied hop experience. But the problem with this approach is that it can allow the hop haze to cover up bad brewing techniques. In the case of Hazy Hippie Trail, we made a moderately-hazy beer that gets most of its haze from protein (AKA: chill haze). We chose a yeast that would settle out and leave room for the massive amount of hops we used and then de-muddled the beer, creating a deliciously clean hazy profile. It’s kind of a sophisticated hippie, and the ultimate chill-out beer.”—Tom Garcia, Brewmaster, Iron Fist Brewing