Defending New England IPAs
by Madison Mayfield

Greetings Bob -  I bet I'm like many of your readers who love New
England IPAs.  When they're done right it's heaven in a glass.  
Having said that you can understand my dismay when one of my
brewing idols, none other than Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewing
recently had some harsh things to say about the style. He called it a
fad, a style destined to fade away.  He said it's shelf life is too short
to be a commercial success and that it's a beer based on an
Instagram culture and social media.  

Mr. Oliver is not alone.  I've read more than a few articles that say
many craft brewers must now, for the first time, brew a style they
don’t even like. Stories abound of new breweries trying to start with
German or Belgian styles only to pivot hard to hazy IPAs after a few
tight months or years of operation. Lager and Saison brewers are
now churning out canned NEIPAs in order to meet the loud demand
of their consumers  Well, brewers that's why you're in business.  If
you want to only brew what you like that's fine but don't expect me to
buy what I don't want either.

Here's what I like about NEIPAs- the  juicy, citrusy, and tropical
flavors; the aromas of orange, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, or
other fruits. Many breweries also use dry-hopping methods to impart
even more of these flavors. Plus the style usually features two of my
favorite hops, Citra and Galaxy.

Yes the shelf life is short but so what?  Regular IPAs are not typically
brewed to last a long time either. Most experts recommend drinking
IPAs as quickly as possible or at least within a month from being

Some brewers complain it's simply too cloudy and that beer should
be bright.  Well, you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its
cover.”  The New England IPA is no exception.   Some fans assume it’
s the result of the heavy-handed late and dry hopping that the beer
demands. Others point to the more characterful yeast that fail to
settle out of solution — a term known as flocculation — which other
yeast styles are known for. From what I've been able to research it’s
probably a combination of both since hop components can absorb
into yeast.  And to tell the truth the fact that in the style hop flavor,
hop aroma – both reminiscent of fruit juice – and mouthfeel all take
precedent over appearance is part of its appeal to me.

I believe NEIPA has merit as a distinct style, even though it pulls
attributes from both English and American IPAs. The characterful
yeast reflects the English-style while borrowing its unbridled hop
experience from the American take. At one point, IPA was strange.
At one time, the innovative American IPA was frowned on. But beer
lovers sure celebrate it now.  And that's what's going to happen with
NEIPAs.  In some ways it already has.  To put the popularity of NE
IPAs into context, consider that of the top-25 IPAs and DIPAs found
on Beer Advocate, 18 of them (72 percent) are some variation of NE
IPA.  That's what I call acceptance and celebration of something new
that’s much more than just a fad.

Frankly, I just don't get the critics.  I mean, after all, what’s more
American than the evolving America’s favorite beer style? NEIPAs
are simply the next step in the evolutionary revolution of craft..  

So with all due respect to Mr. Oliver and the other experts who trash
NEIPAs let me say I am an independent drinker.  I respect your
opinion but and dismayed you do not respect my choice of beer. I
will continue to buy it when it's well made and continue to enjoy it.  

And I'm willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of brewers
against NEIPAs do not have one in their line.  Wonder if their opinion
will change when they start to brew one?  

Oh, Sam Adams is coming out with a NEIPA in cans shortly. Is
Brooklyn next?

Thanks for reading my rant Bob.  Hope I didn't get too carried away.
Many thanks Madison. for such a forceful defense of your favorite beer
style. It made for exciting reading.  I agree with much of what you said
and hope your article will provoke some thinking by some critics.  Geat
job - please write again.

I'd like to  invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer in any way just as Madison did.   I select the best and
publish them here.  So join in and get writing!

BeerNexus proudly presents

Bob Montemurro
"the ombudsman of beer"

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