The future is a bit hazy

Tuesday Nov 13th, 2018

Oh, the haze. What wondrous things can come from a hazy IPA. Tropical fruit notes, extra juiciness pulled from each hop pellet with generous care, and an overall haze to it's appearance (if that wasn't obvious). You’d swear there was actual fruit juice in your glass, but there surely isn’t.

Erie Ale Works has jumped headfirst into the hazy beer wave sweeping the industry. Our first go round was a beer affectionately named Wangdangery (ask us about the name origin sometime). Then we teamed up with Meg Evans at Rock Bottom Brewery in Pittsburgh for a collaboration beer. We called that beast Olaf, Metal - a Clerks film reference.

So why is the beer hazy? Flocculation. The particular yeast used in this style of beer doesn't flocculate out as well as an American ale or a lager yeast strain. It stays in suspension, contributing to the "soft" mouthfeel typically found in these beers.

There are many different strains of yeast that will produce a hazy IPA. Olaf was our first time using the Hornindal Kveik yeast strain from Omega Yeast - and the yeast’s first appearance in Erie (to the best of our knowledge)!

We harvested a pitch from Olaf, Metal and built a new beer around it. Dagger Eyes was released just recently and exhibits a lot of Olaf character, but this bad boy is bigger and uses Azacca and Eukanot hops, two varieties we’ve not used much..

All three of these beers are special to us; we’ve squeezed each hop pellet to the max. We have a lot more planned for Erie when it comes to the hazy schtuff. Keep your eyes directed toward the EAW socials to stay in the loop.


We asked Meg, our hazy collaborator from Rock Bottom Brewery, about her experience working with us. I swear, we didn’t censor her responses.


How do you think this beer (Olaf, Metal) turned out?

I was very impressed with the end result. I had an idea of where this beer was going and it certainly exceeded that expectation.


Why did you look to this yeast?

When I look at a recipe, in my opinion the single most important ingredient is the yeast. It can change everything about what you're doing with a recipe. When I work on creating something unique or interesting I typically seek out that in a yeast strain. The kveik line is incredibly unique as a whole and individually really fun to work with. I had used two of the three kveik strains before that Omega Yeast Labs offers, so when we approached this collaboration I knew it could be a good fit.

You collaborate with other brewers all the time, how did we rate?

Can I give negative points? Just joshin'. I think collaborations really open up an opportunity to see how other brewers operate and learn from one another. It's good to not stay stagnant in your own ways of doing things. This was just that. I had a blast working on this collaboration. I guess you guys or cool or whatever.


Learn more about Rock Bottom Brewery and their KICK ASS beers:

171 East Bridge St,
Homestead, PA 15120
(412) 462-2739

- Jeff