NE-IPA’s Quest for “Juicy” Has Led Us Toward Increasingly Undrinkable Beer, and “Hop Burn” is the Culprit

This spring, my fiance and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, a beer destination we’ve visited numerous times in the past. Asheville is a beautiful little hub for beer, filled with breweries both large and small, all striving to find a niche for themselves in both the local craft beer community and the greater national beer scene. It’s an excellent place to take stock of national trends, and see how they’re playing out in the microcosm of one intensely beer-focused city. It’s also an excellent place to hike and eat doughnuts, but that’s beside the point.

Sitting on the riverside patio of a large regional brewery in the area (okay, it was New Belgium), on a very lovely day, in the middle of a very lovely vacation, my fiance took a sip of her hazy IPA, and her face scrunched into a disapproving pucker. Bear in mind, this is a woman who loves craft beer, and whose favorite style throughout her life has often been India pale ale. Nor is she opposed to hazy, NE-IPA, either. She wasn’t reacting with dissatisfaction because of an inherent opinion she had about the style—she ordered that hazy IPA fully expecting to enjoy it, as we have many others. But what she said next perfectly crystalized one of the biggest issues in modern craft beer.

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