Saint Archer Brewing Co. is diving headfirst into the haze craze, recently adding its new Hazy IPA to the brewery’s core lineup—no limited test release needed. That brings the country’s current hazy IPA count to approximately one million, probably. The San Diego-based brewery has crafted its take with low bitterness and a minimal malt profile, which allows the beer’s three varieties of hops to really shine.
Hazy IPA pours an active-bodied yellow with only some haze, which is a nice contrast to its pale blue can. Saint Archer’s take on the style is lighter in color and heavier on clarity than its turbid orange brethren. The style’s signature fluffy white head—derived from oat and wheat—builds immediately and hangs around as the beer calms down.
Leaning over the glass, my nose is greeted with tropical fruit, citrus and resin aromas. It’s rare that each characteristic is so easily identifiable, but Saint Archer achieves it with an aroma that is much brighter and less sweet than most beers of the style. It’s a welcome change, if it carries over to the taste.
At its best, Saint Archer’s hazy IPA is hop-forward and clean.”
Hazy IPA is lighter on flavor than aroma. The same notes suggested by the scent present differently in the taste, with citrus and tropical fruit leading the charge while earthy pine notes stay on the sideline. That lack of hop bite makes the fruitiness a little too sweet at times. When this happens, the beer’s soft, airy feel and light, drying finish help to balance it out. Even still, Saint Archer would do well to punch up the flavors that are present, as the beer drinks more like a pale ale than a hopped-up IPA.
At its best, Saint Archer’s hazy IPA is hop-forward and clean. It is a solid attempt at the style, though a few tweaks could unlock its full potential, such as trading sweetness for bright hoppiness and backing up its aroma with more flavor. As it stands, Saint Archer’s take is entirely enjoyable, if somewhat subdued.