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The dramatic increase in the popularity of strains well-suited for NEIPAs in the latter half of the previous year confirms for us in no uncertain terms that NEIPA is the biggest brewing trend in the US in 2017.

NEIPA is characterized by huge, fruity hop aroma, comparatively low bitterness, and a hazy appearance.

Yeast strain choice for NEIPA is driven by attenuation level (frequently lower attenuation strains that result in residual malty sweetness), ester production (fruity aromatic compounds that complement modern hops), and perhaps controversially, the inducement of haze.

Many of the strains used are quite flocculent. In most brewing scenarios, this would result in a brilliantly clear beer. However, the inclusion of flaked oats and/or flaked wheat in the grist, along with dry hopping during active formation, leads instead to a beer with a stable haze that acts more like a colloidal suspension (think milk). Even extended cold aging does not clarify most of these beers.

Importantly, the haze is not a result of significant amounts of yeast in suspension.

It’s the grist, yeast choice, and modern fruity hops that lead to the signature juicy” result craved by craft beer drinkers these days. Judging by the popularity of breweries specializing in this style, many craft beer consumers are not put off by an appearance that would have been indicative of a severely flawed beer not that long ago.

With legs to carry the trend far into 2018 and beyond, we think potential further advancements could include even more yeast strain options:

The Norwegian farmhouse strains have a remarkable temperature tolerance (fermenting from roughly 65°- 95° F [18°- 35°C]) compared to typical ale yeast that ferment in the upper 60°s to lower 70°s F [19°- 23°C]. And most importantly for the style, many of these strains do produce ample fruity esters. This could allow brewers to amp up the fruitiness or even forego the use of expensive, harder to get hop varietals.

Either way, aficionados of crystal clear beer may be disappointed to see the phenomenon grow, but brewers will likely expand on the style by incorporating adjuncts or exploring different yeast strains in an effort to stand out from the competition. Embrace the haze!

View Hornindal Kveik Strain
View DIPA Strain
View British Ale V Strain

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