This beer is hazy, and I could not be happier

December 30, 2020

Renowned beer expert (and Witchdoctor’s new beer columnist) NEIL MILLER on the lazy, hazy hoptastic drinking days of summer.

Hazy IPAs

It is a bold move to start my new beer column here on Witchdoctor with an admission – I initially belittled a beer style that has gone on to become one of the most popular beers on the New Zealand craft scene and is now a personal favourite too.

Back in the day, I dismissed Hazy IPA (then known as New England India Pale Ale – NEIPA – or Easy Coast Pale Ale) as a stunt, an act of regional rivalry between the US West and East Coasts reminiscent of the rap wars. West Coast breweries in California and Washington were rightly world famous for their sparkling, fruity, strong, and bitter pale ales. I was a huge fan. I had the t-shirt and everything.


Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.


So, when upstart breweries in New York and New England decided to put their own spin on the style by making basically the same beer with similar hops but it would be hazy, I was unconvinced. My local publican at the excellent Featherston Tavern, Geordie, shared my skepticism, saying his first impression was that brewers were looking to charge $2 a glass more for not doing filtering, the last stage of the brewing process.

Another hazy IPA

However, when I finally swallowed my pride and actually swallowed a Hazy IPA, I was enamored. Instantly, I became a fawning, awkward teenage suitor again. The haziness had a certain visual appeal, giving the beer an artisanal and natural look, the hops I love were in there, the beer had more mouthfeel from the yeast floating around, and the bitterness seemed a little more piquant. Geordie now sells a lot of Hazy IPAs, many of them to me.

These days, I tend to alternate between Hazy IPAs and the West Coast IPA classics Epic Armageddon and Epic Hop Zombie. Here are brief tasting notes on two NEIPAs I tried recently.

Epic Talusman

Epic Talusman, Hazy IPA, Auckland, 6.3%

Luke Nicholas, the Impish Brewer, was a pioneer of American hops in New Zealand brewing and the man most responsible for introducing the West Coast style to Kiwis. I for one thank him for that. He is also adaptive and creative, and this is a hazy pale ale made with a brand-new hop called Talus. That is why the name is spelled funny. There is also a shed load of Mosaic hops in there too.

It is delightfully murky, delivering what it says on the can. There are notes of grapefruit, lemon rind, and pine needles. Talusman has a long but gentle finish, more of a caress than a punch. It lives up to the billing of “easy drinking”.


McLeod’s 802 #28, Unfiltered IPA, Waipa, 6.6%

One of a rotating range of hazy IPAs from this brilliant brewery. To my shame, I have only tried #24, #25, #26, #27 and #28. Obviously, it is hazy, but brighter in colour (not clarity) than the Epic. The beer has Centennial and Ekuanot hops which provide a smooth citrus body with hints of orange, peach, and lime.

For the record, the handsome beast on the can is a Highland Cattle, known as a Hairy Coo in the Highland dialect. McLeod’s is also my mother’s clan but that has not influenced my review. It is a great beer from a brilliant brewery run by some of the nicest guys you will ever meet.



Avatar photo

Neil has been writing for well over 20 years on beer, politics, books, pro-wrestling, education, and retail. An NZ Beer Writer Of The Year, he’s written for several beer-dedicated magazines, contributed to our leading dailies and is probably best known for the epic Malthouse Blog, which showcased the beer knowledge and quirky sense of humour he’s looking to bring to the mighty Witchdoctor!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support Witchdoctor!

Give a little to support Witchdoctor’s quest to save high quality independent journalism. It’s easy and painless!

Just donate $5 or $10 to our PressPatron account by clicking on the button below.

Witchdoctor straight to your inbox every 2nd week


Previous Story

Hot tips for summer BBQs – Brisket

Next Story

PaMu Quiet Wireless Ear Buds REVIEW

Latest from Food & Drink

Last of the fab summer wine

Witchdoctor's wine guru PHIL PARKER has a selection this month that will take you through the last flush of summer drinking.
Go toTop