Fewer than 24 hours prior to my visit to Cloudwater’s Barrel Store Tap Room, Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver was here to host a Ghost Bottle tasting. On Instagram, he posted a photo from the event, in which he holds aloft a glass of the “tasty haze” for which Cloudwater is known. More than a simple update, the image was intended as a winking follow-up to controversial comments he’d made earlier in the week dismissing hazy IPAs as an ephemeral trend and Instagram fodder.
It can be tempting to follow Oliver’s logic and trace the through-line between NE IPAs and craven Insta-bait like rainbow bagels and freakshakes and raindrop cakes. The style—with its milkshake opacity and clementine-bright hue—has the kind of visual, social media appeal that an inky stout or crystalline pilsner might lack.
But as I bring a glass of Cloudwater’s DDH Pale Citra Simcoe to my nose, I’m reminded that these beers offer much more than optics—and that this style has experienced a crescendo of popularity for a reason. This one in particular offers a carnival of aromas and flavors: dripping peach and a bite of bell pepper and overripe mango and a passion fruit tang.
What’s the future for the style, then? As long as they continue to taste as good as they look, they won’t be disappearing from your Instagram feed anytime soon.