Lets learn how Cloudburst makes their hazy beer.
Let's learn how Cloudburst makes their hazy beer. Lester Black

Have you noticed that some of your favorite hoppy beers have developed a distinct haze to them lately? Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. Hazy beers have become so popular that brewers are competing with each other over how to make the haziest beer possible.

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We have officially entered the HAZE CRAZE and I think it’s time to talk about it.

So that’s what we’re going to do at the second event in The Stranger’s new Zymurgy Beer Series. On March 12, we’re partnering with Cloudburst Brewing to throw Haze Craze, an event focused on figuring out what’s going on with all of these hazy beers. We’re thrilled to announce that Bellingham’s Structures Brewing and San Diego/Portland’s Modern Times Beer will also be there pouring and talking about their beers. Tickets cost $20 and will go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. You can purchase tickets here.

Like all of our Zymurgy events, Haze Craze will feature a curated tasting from each brewery as well as a panel discussion with brewers from each of the three breweries.

And there will be plenty to talk about. Hazy IPAs have become popular so quickly that there’s a lot of bullshit surrounding these types of beers. Cloudy beer is ostensibly supposed to indicate that the beer will drink with a softer touch, be less bitter, and have more of the fruity flavor of hops. But that isn’t always the case. Crystal clear beers can have those same qualities, and some hazy beers are actually just poorly made trash beers that shouldn’t be drank at all. Meanwhile, other breweries are raging against bitterness to hard that they’re creating IPA that is so far from bitter that it's become syrupy sweet.

The haze in these beers is supposed to be naturally created by using higher protein grains like wheat and oats, massive amounts of oily hops, and special types of yeast. But some breweries are taking shortcuts and just throwing weird things like flour straight into the fermenter to artificially create the haze. That’s nasty, and so are tons of the beers being made under this hazy label.

The breweries at this event are definitely not doing that gross shit, so let’s find out how they are making their wonderful hazies.

Steve Luke working his magic with uncured hops during wet hop season.
Steve Luke working his magic with uncured hops during wet hop season. Lester Black

People will line up for hours outside in Bellingham just to get a chance to buy some of Structures’ hazies. Modern Times, an employee-owned juggernaut of a brewery, is not only selling some of the country’s best hazy pale ales, they’re also selling an incredible volume of these beers which is an impressive feat. And Cloudburst Brewing is getting attention across the country for head brewer Steve Luke’s ability to make some of the juiciest, haziest beers imaginable while still maintaining a sense of balance. Luke is so good at coaxing flavor out of hops that I have started referring to him as the hop whisperer.

I can’t wait to drink these brewery’s beers while I get to hear what these brewers think about the hazy IPA trend. I hope you’ll join us too.