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Column: Fall down the rabbit hole of hazy IPAs with his beer from Good Word Brewing
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Good Word Brewing & Public House's Wordless Chorus offers a dry, easy drinking take on the hazy IPA. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Why are hazy, New England-style IPAs still so popular?

Each time I go into my local beer shop, the shelves are engulfed with this type of beer. And, most tap lists at breweries seem to contain at least two or more of these “juicy” or “hazy” styles.

I first started seeing them gain popularity around 2016, and the trend is still going strong. 

Aren’t people tired of the pillowy sweetness and stick-in-your-gut aftereffects? I’d like to think that I am, but for some reason, I keep finding myself indulging in this variety of beer.

Todd DiMatteo, owner and brewer of Good Word Brewing & Public House in Duluth said he regularly finds himself posing the same sort of question. 

 “I feel like the hazy IPAs, or whatever you refer to it as, is killing a lot of styles in the marketplace,” DiMatteo said. “It’s choking out creativity in breweries. I often wonder, is it the brewer leading the consumer down a rabbit hole, or are we chasing consumers down the rabbit hole?”

Good Word serves food in addition to beer, which DiMatteo said gives him an easier outlet to showcase a range of brews like German, Belgian and English-styles. Not wanting to completely shun hazy IPAs, DiMatteo recently released Wordless Chorus, a drier version of the style. 

Wordless Chorus offers notes of citrus, pineapple and scuppernongs. It’s smooth with a whisper of sweetness. The body is fairly light, unlike most New England-style IPAs, making it an easy-drinking version of the style.

Wordless Chorus

Brewery: Good Word Brewing & Public House

Alcohol by volume: 5.6%

Style: Hazy IPA

Bottom line: A smooth, balanced IPA that doesn’t hit you with pillowy sweetness

“We were taking the fad and making it more drinkable,” DiMatteo said. “You can’t sit around and drink beers that are so heavy. The goal with that beer is to be part of that style and say, ‘hey, it can also be this.’”

Personally, I found myself relieved to try a hazy IPA that brought something different to the table. Sure, they don’t always taste the same, but Wordless Chorus imparted a welcoming dryness without relying on bitterness from the hops. Also, I didn’t have a stomach ache after consuming a pint, which happens regularly with this style. So, I would consider it a winner. 

Wordless Chorus is labeled as a small-batch one-off beer, but DiMatteo said it has a slight chance of returning. 

Those interested in picking up this brew can find it at both Good Word, located at 3085 Main St. in Duluth, and Downtown Drafts, right off the square in Gainesville

For more information about Good Word’s tasty beer, visit goodwordbrewing.com.

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