Beer: Mind Haze
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)
Style: IPA – New England
6.2% ABV / 40 IBU
I’ll Stan for anything coming out of Firestone Walker’s experimental brewing arm Barrelworks. The results aren’t cheap—a 375ml bomber will typically set you back around $15. But for fans of mixed-culture fermentation, it’s worth seeking any of the Barrelworks brews out. The “Bretta” series is particularly maverick; only cultish beer nerds could dream up a beer mixed with fermented grape juice, something that walks a fine line between dry wine and a wild ale.
Firestone Walker’s core line-up is all about mass appeal, though. Mind Haze is Firestone Walker’s first stab at a New England IPA and although it isn’t particularly emblematic of that style in either look or mouthfeel, it synthesizes some important lessons from some of Firestone Walker’s greatest success stories. Like C-Hops, the pale ale from Firestone Walker’s Propigator series, and the Luponic Distortion run of West Coast IPAs, hops are skillfully blended in Mind Haze to create bold flavor combinations. It’s all about the hops. It’s always about the hops, isn’t it?
Mind Haze has some mild coconut on the nose, but is bursting with juicy orange/ tangerine flavor. This is achieved entirely through the hops, which includes mandarina and cascade included in the wort, plus seven different dry hops added after the boil. Stronger flavors in the dry hop mix like Idaho 7 and especially Mosaic don’t dominate here, so there’s some good alchemy going on with this NEIPA. More creaminess would knock this out of the park, but Mind Haze goes a long way on flavor alone. It’s also completely crushable—dangerously so, for a mid-range ABV beer.
For more info, check out Firestone Walker Brewing Company here.