Plover’s O’so Brewing this spring was the first Wisconsin brewer to release a true New England/Northeast IPA statewide, shipping the hyper-hazy, juicy and modestly bitter Hop Debacle to markets that hadn’t seen much if any of this hype-heavy variant that has swept westward since early last year.
Given the activity since, it seems like more than six months ago that the NEIPA craze landed in Wisconsin, but several other brewers with significant distribution have shipped their takes on the style.
There was an ample amount of NEIPAs at the Wisconsin IPA Fest this summer, including Juice Cloud from Lion’s Tail Brewing in Neenah, winner of the “people’s choice” honor as the first among 36 kegs to empty. The Brewing Projekt’s Dare Mighty Things series has taken Madison bottle shops by storm. And O’so now counts Hop Debacle among its year-round beers.
O’so continues its exploration of the turbid arts with the new Fuzzy Dream, a seasonal NEIPA variant deploying vanilla and orange peel to emulate the Creamsicle ice cream-orange freezer pop. The aroma delivers, with palpable vanilla, ample bitter orange and strong citrusy hop notes blending headily. A sip, though, dashes those dreams somewhat, as an assertive bitterness that’s uncharacteristic of this strain of IPA dominates the flavor after a brief, delicate sweetness on the front. While Fuzzy Dream is tasty enough as a beer for IPA fans, it falls a little short of the sweet-sounding promise.
If the concept of a Creamsicle IPA sounds familiar, it’s probably because Waunakee’s Untitled Art released a beer with that exact name this summer. I thought that beer was a better expression of the frozen confection, bringing more orange-cream sweetness and a softer body before a slightly less bitter finish. Still, I’m certainly not kicking Fuzzy Dream out of the freezer.
6.7 percent ABV, 6-packs of bottles