The Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA pours into the glass with a light straw to golden color, accompanied by a medium white foam. Unfortunately, the head retention falls short for this style. However, the main concern lies in the haziness, or rather the lack thereof. While it exhibits a slight haze compared to a clear IPA, it falls far from the mark set by the forerunners in this category, resembling more of a see-through brew with mild haziness.


Upon pouring, the aroma presents subtle coconut and pineapple notes, though these pleasant hints are volatile, dissipating in under a minute. Transitioning into star anise, peppermint, and spicy Belgian yeast, the scent resembles more of a dry-hopped Belgian ale than the anticipated tropical explosion. As the beer warms, expected aromas of sweet guanabana and overripe tropical fruit emerge but remain somewhat concealed behind phenolic oddities.


The flavor profile of Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing IPA invokes thoughts of a Belgian IPA. A prominent white pepper kick takes center stage, accompanied by a sweetness that falls mid-range compared to the sweeter profiles of renowned NE IPA varieties. The body is clean, albeit a bit thin, displaying balance with minimal sugar. The mouthfeel offers an enjoyable oily slickness, intertwined with phenolic spices, white pepper, and anise. A subtle quenching character akin to lemon-lime Gatorade prevails, concluding with an unexpected lactic acidity, possibly from the addition of acidulated malt.


The mouthfeel of this IPA is notable for its combination of an oily slickness and the dance of phenolic spices. While the body is relatively clean, it tends toward a thinner side. The finish introduces an unexpected lactic acidity, reminiscent of Berliner Weisse, contributing to an overall refreshing character akin to a session IPA.


Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing IPA is undeniably good, flawlessly crafted, and endlessly enjoyable. However, it deviates significantly from the expectations associated with the “Hazy IPA” label. In comparison to authentic clones, the beer stands out as a unique hybrid, blending characteristics of a Belgian IPA, oatmeal IPA, and tropical session IPA. It remains immensely refreshing, offering a distinctive combination, but it falls short of the typical New England Hazy IPA profile that consumers may anticipate. While Sierra Nevada’s experimental approach deserves commendation, it leaves consumers longing for the authentic haze craze experience associated with local breweries’ offerings. In essence, it’s a commendable brew but not the expected Hazy IPA.