Tasting Notes: Hazy Memory IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasHazyMemoryPour2For this edition of Tasting Notes, we take a break from the final, turbulent waves of the workweek so that we can lose ourselves in the idea of the approaching weekend and a Hazy Memory IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Designed to be “evocative of everything [Lagunitas has] learned in hop-forward brewing,” Hazy Memory is a Hazy India Pale Ale loaded down with “oats and smooth wheatly-esque-ish-ness” and then “packed with some of the murkiest, juiciest, turbid Loral 291, Hallertau Blanc, Galaxy, and Citra Hops.” Coming in at 8% ABV and 55 IBUs, Hazy Memory IPA is “a little boozy and a little hoppy — just like a fuzzy memory of a great night long gone.”

Hazy Memory IPA was introduced back in mid-September and is still available for a limited time.  You can expect to find this One Hitter Release available in 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas’ distribution area.

Now that we all know a little bit of the story behind the beer, let’s crack open a can and get lost in a Hazy Memory with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Hazy Memory IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  A gentle, swirling pour produces a Hazy IPA that is a deep golden yellow in color with orange highlights and capped with nearly two fingers of bright white, airy foam.  When held to direct light, the orange tones pull out of the color a bit and the yellows brighten to become more of a lemon hue.  The haze is lighter than most examples of the style these days (which we are fine with), allowing lazy beads of carbonation to be seen moving about within.  Head retention is really fantastic, eventually falling to a lasting half finger that saturates the glass with sticky, arcing lace patterns.

Aroma:  Juicy fruit notes immediately burst from the glass to greet the nose with notes of orange, grapefruit, tangerine, passion fruit, peach, pineapple and melon.  As the juiciness subsides, an undercurrent of more traditional hop characteristics surface with herbal, floral and grassy tones.  The grains give off a bit of sweetness here, but this aroma is all about those hops.

Taste:  The Citra hops are quick to take control with a citrusy, hoppy bite loaded with orange, tangerine, grapefruit and lime.  The sweeter, juicier side of the hop bill then gains traction, adding notes of peach, blueberry, gooseberry, white wine grapes, apricot, pineapple, papaya, melon and passion fruit to the mix.  The real surprise here is a traditional, almost Noble-like hop presence that offers a pretty substantial amount of floral and herbal tones alongside just a grace of pine (something you would expect from a more traditional West Coast-style IPA).  The grains keep the bitterness in check with just the right amount of balancing sweetness.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation, this beer is smooth, creamy, and takes its time on the palate.  It does lean a bit to the hoppy/bitter side (supplying a bit more bite than other Hazy IPAs out there), but the malts do a good job in keeping the bitterness from getting too aggressive.  The 8% ABV lets you know it is there with a little building warmth in the throat.  Tangerine and lime linger in the aftertaste.

Final Thoughts: In a craft beer world heavily inundated with a ridiculous number of Hazy IPAs, Lagunitas somehow finds a subtle way to stand out from the crowd with Hazy Memory IPA.  Sure, it has all those big, fruity and juicy hop notes up front, but it does not stop there.  It goes a step further by playing the greatest hits of the hop spectrum with an infusion of piney, herbal and floral characteristics as well.  It makes for a playful experience that has all the hazy, juicy qualities people are looking for in modern IPA’s while still carrying the memory of more old school IPA styles.  This makes Hazy Memory come together as something new that is still carrying a torch for the IPAs that came before it, and – as a group of IPA drinkers that often have a “get off my lawn” mentality when it comes to Hazy/Juicy IPAs – we can get behind that idea.  Be sure to check out Hazy Memory IPA before it fades from existence.  Prost!