The ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail’s own Jennifer Newman (Young Lion Brewing) was recently asked… “Are NEIPAs overrated? Read on to see what she said:

There’s no denying the popularity of hazy, juicy, New England-style IPAs. While some members of the industry are pushing craft lagers, IPAs remain the most popular craft beer category among consumers on the whole. It’s also the most-entered category in the country’s biggest beer competition, the Great American Beer Festival, since the “Juicy or Hazy” category was introduced in 2018.

We tapped beer industry members from Denver to Denmark to answer the million-dollar question: Are NEIPAs overrated? Here’s what 30 beer pros had to say.

“No beers are overrated. We’re a bit tired of talking about overrated beers — all beer styles deserve to be treated with love and respect. Of course, you can discuss whether the beer is good craftsmanship or not. But in our opinion, it does not make sense to talk disparagingly about beer styles, just because you don’t like the style. To us, enjoying beers is also about challenging yourself, experiencing new tastes, and being curious.” — Lars Carlsen, CEO and Founder, and Alberte Jannicke, Chief Communications Officer, People Like Us, Copenhagen, Denmark

“Definitely not. Anyone who thinks that likely doesn’t make a good one, frankly. Hazy beers have been around as long as people have been making beer. Clean beer is a modern invention — technology like filtration and lagering have, in some cases, stripped beer of its true potential. Haze is awesome and it’s here to stay. If you haven’t found a hazy IPA that blows your mind, you aren’t trying.” — Colby Cox, Co-founder, Roadhouse Brewing Co., Jackson Hole, WY

“There’s a lot of great science going on in NEIPAs. Techniques used in these styles work to utilize bio transformations of certain hop compounds to get a bunch of that juicy aroma packed into the beer. I don’t think they’re overrated because a lot of people love the low bitterness, soft mouthfeel, and fruit-forward aroma.” — Kelly McKnight, Brewer, New Belgium at The Source Hotel, Denver, CO

“I think the popularity of the New England style is the result of the high IBU IPAs that previously flooded the market. The pendulum has now swung the other direction, where some of these popular, hazy, soft, sweet IPAs resemble more juice than beer. No style is overrated. However, I am hoping drinkers’ palates return to seeking out beers with balanced profiles.” — Jen Newman, CEO/Co-owner, Young Lion Brewing, Canandaigua, NY

“Yes. While a ton of them have amazing flavors and aromas, just because it’s hazy doesn’t mean it’s any good.” — Yiga Miyashiro, Senior Director of Brewery Operations, Saint Archer Brewing Company

“NEIPAs deserve as much recognition as any other style, it’s just a matter of personal preference. I personally enjoy the aroma and flavors found in many of the hops commonly used on these recipes, their citrus and refreshing profile combined with such soft and smooth mouthfeel makes them a great drink choice year-round.” — Val Lang, Head of Finance, SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens and Clifton Park, NY

“We have enjoyed a great run with NEIPAs and have made five to six of them. We consider them to be more of a summer beer. We do not think NEIPA is overrated, but perhaps coming near the end of its big run. I am certain we will continue to offer one next summer.” — Carrie Fischer, Co-owner and Brewer, Bottomless Brewing, Geneva, NY

“I think the beers themselves, when done right, are delicious and worthy of the praise, even if it’s hard to tell two well-made ones apart. I think the hype comes from the chase for the beers rather than from the beers themselves, and that’s why people are so keen to label them overrated. The market saturation of this style is hard to overstate, however, and the well-made hazies are surrounded by beers that are downright abominable. I think we’re spilling lots of ink and emotion for these beers, when we could be doing much more to actually broaden the palates of the consumers entering the craft beer market through this style.” — Joe Connolly, Director, Springdale Beer, Framingham, MA

“By the definition of the word? Yes. I enjoy hazy IPAs, but it seems like many beer drinkers only drink that style and often compare all other styles to it. It’s an unfair comparison because the characteristics of different beers can differ so much. A German Helles is very different from a hazy IPA; they aren’t really meant to be compared. There are so many different styles of beer, all offering different and great flavor profiles, that limiting your drinking to only hazy IPAs because those are what are most popular is doing yourself a disservice.” — Adam Denny Golab, Head Brewer, Bent Water Brewing, Lynn, MA

“Maybe over-hopped, but not overrated! The idea of juicier IPAs, using fermentation dry-hopping, higher-mouthfeel grains, and lower IBUs is not overhyped and will last for a long time. The insane overhopping and rushing of the cellaring/conditioning I believe will drift away. The ‘hop burn’ will slowly fade, just as the old trend of searching for the most ‘extreme’ IBU beers. People barely even ask about IBUs anymore.” — Jason zumBrunnen, Co-founder and Head Brewer, Ratio Beerworks, Denver, CO

“I think the NEIPA craze is just another iteration of IPA, and it is just what is happening right now with hop-forward beers. That being said, it certainly can be a very nice beer to drink, but just should not be the only beer you brew; there needs to be balance.” — Brian Grace, Head Brewer, Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

“Overrated? No. Done for the wrong reasons? Sometimes. Listen, these beers are selling a lot right now. I remember when having hazy beers was restricted to only unfiltered wheat beers. As long as we all take our time and approach this new style correctly, there’s a lot of potential to bring new drinkers into the craft world.” — Stephen Hale, Founding Brewer, Schlafly Beer, St. Louis, MO

“I don’t think the style is overrated at all! I’ll admit, it’s not my personal go-to, but I love what it’s done for the beer lovers who previously thought they didn’t like IPAs. One of my best friends used to tell me ad nauseam that she did not like IPAs. After years of her insisting she does not like the style, I got a random text one day: ‘Jess, I LOVE New England-style IPAs!’ I love how the style is opening minds. Besides, who am I to judge if something is overrated? If you find a craft beer you love, then you be you and order it!” — Jess Baker, Editor in Chief,, Boulder, CO

“I think like all IPAs, they are popular because they are just another IPA. IPAs are all the marketing rage! It’s a buzz term that I believe consumers (who are not beer nerds) don’t truly understand. … From a nerdy perspective, the style or technique of crafting NEIPA is very interesting. The fact that all the IBUs can be achieved without losing the hop aroma is the best part. That aroma is so alluring. … The haziness, juice bomb thing, that’s the overrated part. I mean really, I read bartender feeds where they talk about adding flour to beers to make them hazy. Yuck!” — Danii Oliver, Founder and Brewer, Island to Island Brewery, Brooklyn, NY

“Plenty of beers are overly fussed about. The popularity of NEIPAs is complicated. Scarcity or perceived scarcity is an important factor. They tend to be bombastic as well. I think people generally like that. The juicy, sometimes sweet flavor profile is another. Because there is little if any bitterness, they are easier to drink. I wonder if perhaps NEIPAs strike a subconscious chord in some, meaning it reminds them of juice and childhood and more carefree times.” — Phil Markowski, Brewmaster, Two Roads Brewing, Stratford, CT

“I don’t think they’re overrated, but going through the typical hype curve. For the drinkers, it’s driven by the existing obsession with hoppy beer and is just the newest iteration of the beers they already love. For brewers, it’s a bit of keeping up with the Joneses, showing off their brewing prowess and matching the drinker demand. The hype will subside and a new brew ‘style’ will come in its place. But NEIPA is distinct enough that it will continue to exist well after it peaks.” — Merlin U. Ward, Co-founder, Wartega Brewing, Brooklyn, NY

“Are the Beatles, Michael Jackson, U2, Taylor Swift, or Drake overrated? Pop gonna pop.” — Augie Carton, Founder, Carton Brewing Co., Atlantic Highlands, NJ

“Overrated? That’s difficult to say. They’re popular, and brewers need to brew beer that people want. Personally, I love the low IBUs and high aroma, but I’m over the orange-juice-ness.” — Jeff Joslin, Director of Brewing, Left Hand Brewing, Longmont, CO

“Hazy/juicy/New England-style IPAs have developed a strong following among a group of craft beer drinkers and serve as a change-of-pace versus traditional IPAs. … They utilize a broad variety of hop styles and grain components and provide a unique taste experience. Brewers are also constantly evolving their hazy offerings. In our case at Garage Brewing, we’re up to Hazy #9, so it gives consumers new, fresh options. So ‘overrated?’ No. Hazies are an interesting alternative as part of a well-balanced craft beer portfolio.” — Allan O’Neil, VP of Sales and Marketing, Garage Brewing Co., Temecula, CA

“The category itself – maybe. Like any beer style, there are thousands of brewers making this style with varying levels of quality and consistency. But it is tough for us to argue that a well-made hazy NEIPA is anything other than delicious. And while IPAs continue to be the leading style in craft beer, there is a bitterness that has always alienated a portion of beer drinkers. Hazy IPAs invite more drinkers in with soft flavors of fruit and citrus, but with lower bitterness.” — Brett VanderKamp, President and Founder, New Holland Brewing Company, Holland, MI

“I don’t think any style can be ‘overrated’ since everyone’s palate is so unique. I also think that the current focus on the ‘haze craze’ is just another step in the long and winding road of innovation. If you consider, nearly every beer style has had its moment on top of the beer world, even dating back to the end of the 17th [and] start of the 18th century, when porter came about and was king in places like England and Ireland. Right now, more than 200 years later, really rich, flavorful stouts, descendants of those early porters, are one of the more popular styles in the American craft scene. The beer industry seems to be incredibly cyclical.” — Ryan Wagner, Guinness Brewery Ambassador, Baltimore, MD

“I love a great hazy when they are well made. While they’ve been popular in the Northeast and other parts of the country for some time, they’ve more recently become a really popular style in the Northwest. I think the big problem with hazy IPAs, and what’s led to this thought that they’re overrated, is that so many breweries are making them that the style is flooding the market. With so many different hazy IPA options available, the competition can make it hard to move them and the shelf stability time for the style is super short. The result is that more often than not, you’re getting a beer past its prime, especially if it’s hitting mass distribution.” — James Long, Co-founder and Head Brewer, Barbarian Brewing, Boise, ID

“Not at all. … With so many great hop varietals in the world, the opportunities to experiment and create new hazy IPAs are endless. This style is here to stay.” — Tom Vogel, CEO, Belching Beaver Brewery, San Diego, CA

“I wouldn’t say that the style is overrated, but definitely overhyped. That being said, I think the style is great, and I drink NEIPAs and enjoy them when I do. What I don’t like is that the style is being used as a standard to signify a good brewery, which is unsettling for the industry in my opinion. There are so many great styles out there, ones that require varying skills to brew, and to put all of the weight behind NEIPA just doesn’t do a brewery justice.” — Matt McCall, Head Brewer, Coney Island Brewery, Brooklyn, NY

“Probably. Like anything, there are well-executed versions and some that take certain aspects of the style to unnecessary extremes. It would be great if New England IPAs actually used malted grains and hops from the region to justify the name, wouldn’t it? I’m not sure I think of it in terms of being overrated because there are understandable reasons for brewers to continue making them and the consumer to keep seeking them out.” — Barry Labenz, Founder, Kent Falls Brewing, Kent Falls, CT

“I think it’s interesting how the IPA has evolved from a style that was designed to be shipped from England to India without spoiling to a style focused on freshness and with limited shelf stability. I rather enjoy NEIPAs, personally. We have some very high-quality ones being brewed in Nashville and middle Tennessee. If done well, they taste great and can be very appealing to look at, but I would not qualify them as overrated. I think their popularity draws attention to the craft beer scene. If someone gets turned on to craft beer by NEIPA, that’s good for the craft beer movement!” — Carl E. Meier, Founder, The Black Abbey Brewing Company, Nashville, TN

“I’ve never taken issue with hazy/NEIPAs. Growing up on the East Coast meant Heady Topper was the holy grail of beers, Harpoon did their UFO (unfiltered) series, and local Baltimore spots had hazy IPAs. It wasn’t even a style, it was just unfiltered. Granted, today’s hazy IPAs are more than unfiltered beer, but seven or eight years ago, it was never seen as lazy or trendy. I personally dig the style, and I think you’re doing your taproom staff a disservice if you don’t have one.” — Chris Gilmore, Brewer, Lone Tree Brewing Company, Lone Tree, CO

“No. Brewers typically don’t overrate a beer style because it is a personal preference. The style is great for the homebrewer and new taproom. Not a lot of complexity. They can quickly get into beer-making and enjoy the experience of a ‘job well done.’” — Tom Fiorenzi, Director of Brewing, Shiner, Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, TX

“I wouldn’t describe the New England-style/hazy/juicy IPAs as overrated. This new trend has created a lot of interest in craft brews. I do think that the varieties of the style may have made the style less specific. However, it has allowed for some creative brews. I think the trend will continue, but may lose some popularity as time goes on.” — Sallee Ten Eyck, Co-founder and Majority Partner, Summerhill Brewing, LLC, Summer Hill, NY

“A nice juicy IPA can be a wonderful beer to behold and enjoy. If executed properly, it is truly a skillful accomplishment. Phenomenal flavors are being uncovered and spotlighted through progressive techniques and the utilization of new products. Unfortunately, many are done poorly. This leads many to believe overall they are overrated, but I believe they are more commonly misrepresented.” — Rhett Dougherty, Head Brewer, Veza Sur Brewing Co., Miami, FL