HopHaze® Brewer’s Spotlight: Getting hazy with Joe Casey
HAAS® and BarthHaas® just launched an innovative new hop product called HopHaze® that dramatically increases the stability of hazy beers. We recently sat down with Joe Casey, Brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch Brewers Collective, and who was an important part of the innovation process and brewing trials.
Joe, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Joe Casey: I work for Anheuser-Busch, and I’ve been with them for about a year and a half. Prior to that, I worked with Craft Brew Alliance for 25-plus years, working with Redhook Ale Brewery, Kona Brewing Company, and Widmer Brothers Brewery, where I got my start. Now I cover hops for AB in North America, and I work with all of our craft brewery partners.
How did you come to be involved with the development of HopHaze?
Joe: Within the craft beer segment, hazy IPAs have been very popular for a number of years. One of the challenges of hazy IPAs, or any hazy beer style, is to make a stable haze that doesn’t settle out across time. Nobody wants their beer to look like a snow globe, and nobody wants to experience a bunch of sediment either. Haze stability has been an ongoing technical challenge for brewers for quite some time.
Phil [Dr. Phil Chou, from HAAS® Technical Brewing Solutions] and I were talking about a number of different brewing solutions, and he mentioned a new product HAAS® in development that created a really interesting beer haze—I immediately wanted to give it a try.
What initially got you excited about HopHaze?
Joe: One of the things that I really liked about it was, number one, it’s 100% hop based. There are other products out there that are natural, but they’re not made from hops; something already in beer. So you have to think about that when you talk to consumers and when you think about how you’re labeling your beer. Some tools that brewers consider might break away from the traditional ingredients used in beer, but HopHaze™ is hop based, so that really attracts me.
So, how did the HopHaze trials go?
Joe: We took time to find an optimal dose rate. We asked, ‘What happens if you don’t use enough?’ ‘What happens if you use five times more than you’re supposed to?’ What’s the normal process and product variation?’ We wanted to understand those effects and impacts—to ‘negative brainstorm’ the process until we felt we had it all sorted out.
What about haze stability, what did you see?
Joe: As part of our initial trial, we collected an Imperial IPA into clear bottles to test in different storage conditions so that we could easily, visually, monitor beer haze over time. And that’s really when we started to be sold on the effectiveness of the product.
Why is that?
Joe: We let those clear bottles sit in cold, room temperature, and warm forced conditions for nine months. Across that time the haze remained homogenous, didn’t flake out, and didn’t sediment. There were also no unwanted flavor impacts. There literally was virtually nothing on the bottom of the bottle—indicating that nothing had settled out.
You see, with haze…let’s just say gravity usually wins. So if you can have something that doesn’t drop out over time, you’re in a pretty good position if you want to make something hazy.
For us, the biggest litmus test of a new product is pretty simple: would you recommend HopHaze to a fellow brewer?
Joe: Yes, definitely. I think this was a great collaboration with Phil and Lee [Lee Galligan, Global and Craft Account Manager at John I. Haas] and I think we’ve found another reason to love hops. I think HopHaze is something that has the potential to move the industry forward.
To learn more about HopHaze, visit our product page. To give HopHaze a try, contact your HAAS representative, or your favorite HAAS distribution partner. And, please, let us know what you think!