What is a Hazy IPA?

This deliciously refreshing beer has stolen the hearts of craft beer lovers and IPA enthusiasts alike from coast to coast. But did you know that this wildly popular brew actually comes from humble beginnings? You couldn’t always find it flowing on tap at your local craft brewery or pick up a case of it from your neighborhood grocery store. What hit the beer scene as a simple niche brew quickly turned into a fan favorite, and it’s no surprise, because there’s a lot to love about it.  

If IPA’s are your “just can’t get enough,” “go-to” brew, we’re betting you’ll love this hazy version too. But even folks who generally don’t pick up an IPA as their beer of choice still find themselves intrigued by this juicy, cloudy beverage. So whether you just bought your first 4-pack to try or you’re a diehard Hazy IPA drinker, you may be curious to learn what it is about this beer that’s caused its popularity to skyrocket, and why so many people just can’t get enough of it. Grab a Lo-Pitch or a Super Haze and enjoy the yumminess that is the Hazy IPA as we walk you through a little beer education.  

What is a Hazy IPA anyway?

If you’re a hazy newbie, don’t sweat it – no judgment here! We’ll give you the rundown on what makes this niche beverage a fan favorite. 

First things first, as the name implies, they’re visibly hazy (might seem obvious, but still noteworthy!) However, that’s not the only differentiator — their distinguished characteristics go far beyond just a cloudy appearance. 

Similar to other IPAs, they have a lot of hops. But thanks to precise brewing processes and less filtering, these beers rank lower on the bitterness scale than other IPAs do. Instead, you’ll get a flavor profile that’s much creamier with notes of fruity hops, which is why you’ll hear others describe Hazy IPAs as being juicy and citrus tasting (maybe even reminiscent of orange juice.) It’s these fruity hops that make Hazy IPAs so delicious and memorable. But beware, even though they may seem like easy drinking beers, they’re still not ones you’d want to shotgun.

Hazy IPA vs. IPA

Let’s start with the OG… THE IPA.

You may have heard a tale about this notorious beer that goes a little something like this: In the 1700s, when the British were trying to colonize India, they tried over and over again to send beer to their troops. But despite their best efforts, the ales they sent couldn’t endure the long trip to India. As you can imagine, extreme temperatures and prolonged storage weren’t exactly ideal conditions for keeping beer fresh. 

The British had two tools to work with: alcohol and hops — both known for being great preservatives. As legend has it, it was George Hodgson of East London’s Bow Brewery who created the very first IPA. It was bitter and highly alcoholic, but at long last, it could withstand the long trip across the ocean. 

Thanks to the creation of this beloved beverage, we now have multiple varieties of the English-born brew — like the West Coast IPA, East Coast IPA, Double IPA and Belgian IPA — satisfying hoppy cravings for decades.


From inception to modern day, IPAs have been crafted to be hop-forward, giving a flavor profile that’s both bitter and fruity. And while hazy IPAs and regular IPAs both use heaping amounts of hops, the difference between these two styles is how and when they’re used during the brewing process. With traditional IPAs, brewers typically add hops during the boil, which causes them to taste more bitter. But unlike the rest of the IPA family, Hazy IPAs are brewed by adding hops after the boiling process or during fermentation (known as dry-hopping,) which gives these hazy brews their signature floral, citrus and tropical fruit flavor profiles. 

What makes a Hazy IPA hazy?

Historically for brewers, having a batch of beer turn out hazy was bad news. The cloudy appearance signaled that the beer was infected with bacteria, and that meant time to toss it out and start over.

This all changed in the early 2000s when brewers at Alchemist Brewery, in Vermont, introduced a new, hazy style of beer called the New England IPA, or as we like to call it, the Hazy IPA. Since then, this cloudy, juicy ale has been adopted by breweries, both small and large, and has taken the beer industry by storm.


The haze that we love so much about this beer is a result of a few different things. With a Hazy IPA, the cloudiness comes from colloidal haze from the dry hopping process. The purpose is mainly to add aroma to the beer, but it also adds particulate matter which stays suspended in the liquid, creating the beer’s signature haziness. Its foggy appearance also comes from something called “low-flocculating yeast.” This is yeast that doesn’t clump together, rise to the surface or sink to the bottom.

The Hi-Wire Brewing Hazy IPA

In typical Hi-Wire fashion, we like to put our own spin on things. And our Hazy IPAs are no exception. 

Let’s start with step one — the recipe. 


When we design our refreshing hazy recipes, we always look to accent the fruit characteristics of our hops — that’s where you get those delicious citrus and tropical flavors from. And sometimes it takes a lot of experimenting to get things just right. For that reason, we’re giving a special shout out to our Hilliard Brewhouse for giving us more opportunity to explore and experiment. It’s new. It’s updated. And we love it. 

Thanks to our more modern brew equipment, we’re able to do a lot more. We can make beer on a small scale at the brewhouse to do some trial and error experiments to see what we like, and if things go well, we can take what we’ve made to then brew a larger batch of beer. With Hazy IPAs, in particular, this is a game changer, because we get to experiment with different types of hops to see what we want to use. 

When we’ve gotten our recipe down pat, the brewing process begins. For our hazy brews, we treat them differently than our other beers. We brew them to have low bitterness which stems from our two separate dry hops. We complete one dry hop during fermentation (because you get interaction with the yeast,) and then we do a post fermentation dry hop. 

In our process, we use wheat and oats (which have more protein) to give our Hazy IPAs that cloudy, classic haze. We also try to retain haze through the selection of particle size, whereas some brewers use the yeast that stays in suspension to create a more intense haze. Here at Hi-Wire, we haven’t used that style of brewing Hazys yet, but we plan to in 2023. So, this is your PSA to be on the lookout for a new style of Hi-Wire Hazy IPA coming soon! Get excited.

Want to try a Hi-Wire Brewing Hazy?

Join us for a Hazy brew at one of our various taprooms! Choose one of our locations here. Interested in finding our beer near you? Check out our beer finder here.