Hazy IPAs—with their big flavor and low bitterness—have taken over the craft beer industry. Taking the IPA torch from the West Coast IPAs, where the name of the game is “bitter is better,” these tropical fruit juice-bombs felt revolutionary just a few years ago. But in Boulder, Colorado, the concept of a hazy, hoppy, and low IBU beer is anything but new. In fact, Boulder Beer Company has been making Hazed & Infused, an unfiltered pale ale, since way back in 2002. The beer pairs hoppy flavors and aromas with a sessionable body and hint of bitterness.
While Hazed & Infused was probably considered super hazy during the time when clear beer reigned supreme, in today’s craft landscape it doesn’t seem very hazy at all. The slightly cloudy—but mostly transparent—body is a dull, dark gold. A few jet streams of bubbles rise up the glass to meet a frothy head. This isn’t the kind of beer that stirs excitement when it’s set down in front of you at the bar.
Boulder Beer dumps a hefty dose of dry hops in this beer, and it really shines through on the aroma. A good whiff transports me to a backyard of freshly mowed grass, giving me the best part of yard-mowing (the post-mow beer) without the worst of it (the actual mowing). The grassiness is backed up by hits of pine and citrus that could easily fool me into thinking this is a full-bodied IPA instead of a low-ABV pale ale.
While it may have been passed by newer updates on the style, Hazed & Infused still compares favorably with most of its modern peers.”
With a dull appearance and bright aroma, I was pretty interested to see where the flavor would land. The answer is somewhere in between. Hazed & Infused rides it’s four hop varieties as hard as it can. The citrus, grassiness, and pine from the aroma stick around in that order. You can’t judge a 5% ABV pale ale on the same scale as a double IPA, but I feel more like I’ve been hit with a flavor jab than a hoppy haymaker.
Hazed & Infused hits on one of my favorite combinations in beer: pairing big hop flavor and aroma with low bitterness and ABV. It’s a tough balance to strike, turning the dial in either direction would result in an out-of-balance beer. While it may have been passed by newer updates on the style, Hazed & Infused still compares favorably with most of its modern peers, which means it’s good enough to have another.