We’ve been down this road before—craft brewer with wide distribution releases a hazy IPA, trying to capitalize on a trend that has swept across the beer industry. Said IPA likely suffers from lack of freshness, wild temperature swings on its route to your fridge, or a flawed brewing process aimed at avoiding those same problems.
It’s not to say that all mass-distributed hazy IPAs are bad, but more so that it is a style better executed by smaller and more regional breweries (and sometimes better left alone entirely). Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado blows up that logic with Cloud Catcher. It’s a beer that, even after traveling a few hundred miles from the source, delivers on the promises of a good hazy IPA.
Cloud Catcher pours a straw yellow from its golden can. It is much brighter and lighter in color than your average milkshake IPA. Cloud Catcher also boasts more activity, with bubbles rising to meet a frothy white head that starts huge but quickly fades, leaving behind a foamy residue similar to the remnants of high tide.
With Cloud Catcher, Odell establishes a new ceiling for the hazy IPA.”
While Cloud Catcher may not look like your everyday hazy IPA, it sure smells like one. The double dry-hopping of Galaxy, Cashmere, Azacca and Citra dominate the nose. They bring notes of fresh-squeezed citrus to complement a host of tropical fruit aromas.
Flavor is where this beer truly shines. Hits of bright citrus are complemented by Creamsicle and peach flavors. It’s texture is airy and light—a true feat given that adding milk sugar (lactose) can make a beer feel heavier. Where most milkshake IPAs go awry with additions of fruit puree and vanilla, Odell uses restraint in the quality and volume of adjuncts. The lactose is simply there to complement and underline the hop flavor, not replace it. Cloud Catcher finishes with a lingering bitterness that balances out the sweetness. It’s a light but persistent bitterness with none of the acrid hop bite sometimes present in the style.
Odell’s Cloud Catcher is the best widely distributed New England-style hazy IPA I’ve tasted. It strikes the balance between bitter and sweet, while ticking all the boxes of the style: juicy, tropical, citrus, bright, soft and creamy. With Cloud Catcher, Odell establishes a new ceiling for the hazy IPA.