Earlier this year, three juicy or hazy styles were formally incorporated into the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines.
That meant that at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver last month, beers in those categories — “Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale,” “Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale,” and “Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale” — were judged and awarded medals for the first time.
The even bigger news turned out to be that the total number of entries for all three juicy or hazy styles was 706. And with just 331 entries, it was the first time in over a decade and a half that American-style IPA was not the top beer style entered at GABF.
I’m not sure how many Georgia breweries entered beers in any of the IPA categories in 2018, but there were only four Georgia winners, and none were IPAs.
Notably, Atlanta’s Orpheus took home a bronze medal for its I Am Only Memories Belgian-style wild ale with raspberries. And Atlanta’s Wrecking Bar Brewpub won a silver medal for its Willett barrel-aged Ye Old Sprinklerhead Barleywine.
Of course, IPAs are still the best-selling style of craft beer in the U.S. But especially when it comes to the type of hops added and the level of haze and juice induced, the exact style of any given IPA has become more and more difficult to pin down.
Some have even suggested that the category is all but meaningless, as breweries rush to produce a range of experimental IPAs that satisfy the growing demand for novelty and rarity.
The rebranded Atlanta Brewing Co. portfolio represents a kind of middle way by featuring both its longtime flagship Hoplanta classic West Coast IPA and its new contemporary Hartsfield IPA.
Along with Hartsfield, here are three more modern IPAs from Georgia to try right now.
Atlanta Brewing Hartsfield IPA — Each batch will feature a new and different hop in addition to a base of Citra and Mosaic. For the first iteration, that hop is Moutere from New Zealand. At 6.2 percent alcohol, it's an aromatic beer, with notes of lemon, lime and passion fruit, and a soft bitterness at the back of the palate. Available year-round on draft and in 12-ounce cans.
SweetWater Mosaic Single Hop Hazy IPA — A golden hazy IPA that beautifully showcases the complex fruity, citrus and herbal notes of the Mosaic hop. Malted oats and wheat bring the haze. And at 6.2 percent alcohol, it's an easygoing sipper with a crisp, clean finish. Available September-December on draft, in variety 12-packs, and 12-ounce cans.
Three Taverns Rowdy and Proud IPA — A collaboration beer brewed for fans of the Atlanta United soccer team, this 6 percent American IPA is juiced up with Huell Melon, Mosaic and Amarillo hops. At 6 percent alcohol and low in bitterness, it presents notes of melon with citrus undertones. Available year-round on draft and in 12-ounce cans.
Wild Leap Alpha Abstraction Double IPA — Straight out of historic downtown LaGrange, Wild Leap Brewing has been making a mark on the Georgia beer scene. The third edition of its Alpha Abstraction series, Volume 3 is a juicy, double dry-hopped IPA with Mosaic. At 8 percent alcohol, it's big but not bitter. Available for a limited time on draft and in 12-ounce cans.
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