What is a New England IPA (NEIPA)? Complete Guide


The New England IPA, also known as a hazy IPA or juicy IPA, is a variation of the American IPA beer style, known for its intense dry hopped citrusy character and softer texture, and an extremely low bitterness for an India pale ale beer style. 

The origin of New England IPAs can be traced to the Alchemist Brewery, a craft brewer in the Northeastern United States known historically as the New England region. Still, the style is brewed worldwide with each region’s take on the OG style. 

The Alchemist’s Double IPA Heady Topper is widely recognized as the original or archetypal NE IPA beer. However, it is different from the current juice bombs that the beer style has morphed into.

Today, Heady Topper remains a much sought-after beer by beer drinkers and is commonly emulated by craft brewers who love this hop-forward, drink fresh craft beer.

Heady Topper from the Alchemist Brewery in Vermont started the New England pale ale craze

What is a NEIPA?

Like more conventional IPAs, New England India Pale Ales showcase hops as the star beer ingredient. New England IPAs boast a massive hop aroma, reminiscent of citrus fruit flavours like passion fruit, orange or mango juice.

This hoppy beer style can also be referred to as juicy IPAs and gets this aroma not just from adding more hops but from the selection of yeast that produces fruity esters that blend with the hops during the fermentation and dry hopping along the brewing process.

This yeast selection sets the New England IPAs apart from what most beer lovers recognize as West Coast IPAs.

New England IPA bucks the bitter IPA rule aiming for a softer IPA style, one that combines flaked oats and wheat in the grain bill to yield a creamy mouthfeel, not the sometimes harsh bitterness of your typical IPA, and a lingering fruity sweetness to accentuate the hop notes of new world hop varieties that are heavily dry hopped in these unfiltered IPAs. 

Besides the silky mouthfeel, New England India Pale Ale is unfiltered making the excess suspended hop oils, less flocculant qualities of certain yeast strains, and the flaked malts create a beer that resembles that of high-pulp orange juice which beer drinkers love.

So it’s no wonder this new beer spawned somewhat of a haze craze when traditionally clear beers were preferred. 

New England Pale Ales Explained

New England IPA is a particularly hop driven beer style


Style

NEIPA Beers are all about the hop craze. The brewing process uses late hopping and dry hopping techniques to create an extremely hoppy beer style without the bitterness of other beer styles using a high amount of hops. 

To accentuate these hop varieties, brewers choose yeast strains that will leave fruity esters in the beer after fermentation and flaked malts, like world origin oats, that provide a pleasing haze and an unfiltered character described as a thicker IPA. While this is a hazy IPA, a good NEIPA should not resemble a murky beer or look like a glass of orange juice. Instead, this hazy IPA should hue closer to a cloudy, golden yellow body, and is definitely not what you would call a clear beer.


Flavor

The flavor of hazy IPAs should be of the hop notes and limited malt wise. The use of adjuncts and perceived less carbonation bubbles will lend to a softer texture than other beer styles. Yeast-derived, fruity esters will accentuate the juicy qualities of the hop varieties used. 


Hops

Hops are primarily used late in the brewing process, resulting in a hazy IPA free of the harsh bitterness in typical IPAs. Hops used in making a hazy IPA include: Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy, El Dorado, etc.


ABV

The Beer Judge Certification Program style guide provides a range for hazy IPAs between six and nine percent alcohol by volume. A professional brewing company may refer to the Brewers Association guideline for professional competitions. The BA’s style guide lists Juicy Hazy IPAs, along with a hazy double IPA, strong pale ale, and pale ale category. 


IBU

Hazy Ipas are heavily dry hopped, a process that does not utilize the bittering hop oils that bitter the beer; thus, IBUs play a minor role in the beer style’s description. 

The Beer Judge Certification program, which provides certifications and competition support for amateur home brewers, lists the IBU range for their category 21C. Hazy IPA between 25 and 60. For reference, an American India Pale Ale has an IBU range between 40 and 70. IBUs is a numerical rating of the amount of isomerized alpha acids in a craft beer style.

New England India Pale Ale beers that we love

Ready to jump on the Haze Craze? Check out some of these fantastic New England IPA styles.

Heady Topper | The Alchemist Brewery

The gold standard of NEIPA beer is unique in that it is very danky and bitter. Compared to any other hazy IPA, you’ll find a hefty English IPA with loads of American hops. Why brewers choose to put out murky, orange juice beers and say Heady Topper inspired it, I will never know.

Juicy Bits | Weldwerks

Weldwerks is a new beer factory, releasing hundreds of beers annually. Still, their mainstay is a New England India Pale Ale called Juicy Bits. Juicy Bits bursts with tropical fruit hoppiness and has bagged plenty of hardware for the style.

Julius | Tree House

Hailing from another New England state, Massachusetts, Tree House Brewing Company has become a must-visit New England India Pale Ale brewery. And the beer you must try is Julius, with tons of hop aroma and flavor for any hop zealot willing to wait in line.