There’s gold in the haze, and America’s biggest beer producers are done playing dumb. We’ve seen juicy/hazy/New England/Northeast IPA cash-ins from big-name producers such as Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada. The latest come by way of Spoetzl Brewery, with its new year-round Shiner Wicked Juicy IPA.
The brewery is no newbie to catering to the latest trend, as of late, that is. Like its sibling Day Quencher, Wicked Juicy is adventurous for Shiner, a brewery known for its flagship Bock and not much else. In the end, it’s unclear who exactly this new beer is aiming to please.
More cloudy than hazy, Wicked Juicy doesn’t have the thick turbidity many craft beer drinkers are accustomed to. That’s not to say every juicy IPA needs to drink like porridge, but Wicked Juicy’s goldfish orange body is a telltale sign that they’re hoping to capture novices and hypebeasts alike. Ultimately, it’s an unspectacular middle ground.
Making a hazy IPA in 2018 isn’t a courageous business move, but you’d still like to see something more daring than Wicked Juicy.”
Predictably, Citra dominates the aroma. The tropical scent is one of the most predicatable qualities of Wicked Juicy. The first wafts are still an intoxicating, and the smell alone will wet your palate with anticipation, but liquor stores are lousy with beers that accomplish much more than that for a slightly higher investment.
The most satisfying quality of Wicked Juicy is the taste. Despite feeling pretty commoditized, Wicked Juicy has plenty of hop-powered flavor to keep it interesting. Each sip brings the beer closer to redemption. The hazy IPA category is tormented by sky-high gravity beers, so Wicked Juicy’s 5.7% ABV is very welcomed, as is the forgiving 12-oz serving size.
You’re right to be cynical about any mass-produced, aim-for-the-middle hazy IPA that you come across. Making a hazy IPA in 2018 isn’t a courageous business move, but you’d still like to see something more daring than Wicked Juicy from any brewery bothering to engage in the hype.