Dogfish Head has been featured in our Spirit.Ed column before and for good reason, as they continue to outclass other craft breweries on sheer inventiveness alone. The Hazy-O! Hazy IPA is the brewery’s latest swing of the ale alchemy bat, and yes, it’s another home run.
The India Pale Ale is either a beer you love from the first sip, or can’t take due to its hop-forward nature. I can admit that IPAs were not my favorite at first, but as my pallette matured, so did my appreciation for the style. Dogfish already makes what I consider the best IPA of all time in the 120 Minute IPA, and the 60 Minute, 90 Minute, and Liquid Truth Serum IPAs are just as good. So how does the Hazy-O! fare next to these solidified classics? First, let’s give some background on the brew.
The Hazy-O! is made up of four types of oats, which included malted, rolled, naked, and oat milk. Oatmeal has been used several times in other beer styles, namely stouts, but combine that blend with the traditional hops, which becomes another beast altogether. The company boasts that the beer has a creamy, juicy, big hoppy taste that gets calmed a bit with the malted oats. The use of oat milk brings one to mind the idea of clarified milk as used in the many milk punch recipes for cocktails that are present. On paper, it reads like it should hit all the usual IPA notes but not smacking you in the teeth like the 120 Minute or even 90 Minute can when freshly poured.
Let’s hear more from Sam Calagione, the mind behind Dogfish Head:
While Hazy-O! features a bunch of high-quality culinary ingredients, it’s the oats that are really the star of the show. Each of the oat formats used in Hazy-O! provides a unique characteristic to the beer. The malted oats offer a delicate malty sweetness; the rolled oats contribute a dense haze; the naked oats provide a subtle toasty, caramel character; and the piece de resistance, oat milk, creates a silky soft mouthfeel that makes Hazy-O! drink like a 5% ABV session sipper, instead of the 7.1% ABV powerhouse that it is. This foundation-of-four oat formats creates a target, allowing the beer’s bright and juicy hops to hit the flavorful bullseye.
As the “off-centered” company loves to do, they experimented heavily over a year with this brew before landing on this concoction which takes note of the rapid rise in popularity in the hazy IPA style along with oat milk becoming a household staple nationwide as people cut back on dairy products and the like. Dogfish collaborated on this beer with Elmhurst 1925, a family-owned, plant-based milk company from New York. With many folks watching what they eat or drink, they can rest assured that the silky mouthfeel present in the Hazy-O! isn’t because of a little moo juice.
So the major question that needs an answer is, how does it taste? At first pour, the brew had that hazy, golden texture true to the style. The aroma retained those sweet, tropical notes familiar to any fan of the IPA. Upon the first sip, this is one remarkably smooth IPA. Yes, the hoppiness is right there, but it won’t make you grit your teeth trying to steel yourself. It starts off bold, but the finish is silky, almost desert-like, and pleasant. Just like they promised.
The Dogfish Head Hazy-O! Hazy IPA is now available nationwide in 12 oz. cans in their 6-pack offering and on tap at select locations. To learn more about the brew, visit Dogfish Head’s website here.
Photo: Dogfish Head/DLC