hazy-juicy-beerBrewing & Distilling

A Great American Beer Festival Judge’s Take on Hazy Juicy Beers

The Brewers Association has added three new beer categories at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) next month.

The styles are:

  • Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale (131 entries)
  • Juicy or Hazy IPA (414 entries)
  • Juicy or Hazy Double IPA (161 entries)

There is good reason to include these beers in the GABF competition. Hazy Juicy beers have become wildly popular, and these new styles have the most 2018 GABF entries, 706 to be exact.

What does this mean for those of us who judge at the GABF? I think it means there will likely be varying opinions on which ones taste best. But, once the obviously flawed ones are eliminated from the table (like any other category), the best ones will rise to the top. In Hazy Juicy style, the shelf life will be critical. Hazy Juicy is not known for having a long shelf life. It is best consumed as soon as possible, not aged like Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines, Baltic Porters, Lambic, etc.

One thing is certain to me. The brewing companies that keep their equipment properly cleaned and sanitized will do the best. I expect that Birko customers will once again do very well, as they do every year.  Last year, Birko customers won 25% of the GABF Gold Medals, and given this rise in Hazy Juicy, it may be even higher this year.

My advice for any brewer looking to win medals (and more importantly, stay in business) is always the same: brew to style, and above all, keep the equipment clean.

Click here to find out why medal-winning breweries brew with Birko.


Dana Johnson, Technical Director, Craft Brewing, Birko, is a frequent judge at the Great American Beer Festival and one of Birko’s resident master brewers. He can be reached at [email protected] or (303) 289-1090.