About 13 years ago, The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vt., released a new IPA called Heady Topper. The brewer, John Kimmich, had decided to neither filter nor pasteurize the beer — both common methods of extending a commercial beer's shelf life. The result was an IPA thicker with the microscopic compounds and particulates that add flavor and aroma. Customers noticed and praised the beer as being especially tasty.
They also noticed the beer's appearance: Heady Topper was unusually murky and opaque, almost like orange juice. Even though Kimmich says the beer's turbidity was never a concern of his, it became a point of focus for many of his customers. Other brewers noticed, too, and some began making their own hazy IPAs. For the next decade, the style remained modestly popular as an East Coast specialty.
Then, a few months ago, hazy IPAs exploded onto the national beer scene. No one can explain this sudden explosion, but beers with the appearance of pulpy fruit juice have swept across the country since then. The phenomenon is now billed the "haze craze." And in the past several months, these so-called New England IPAs have hit the West Coast like a wild dust storm.