Boulder Beer Company often touts the “dry hopping” process used to make its Hazed and Infused pale ale. While this may sound a bit racy, the process actually involves adding crystal and centennial hops after most of the fermentation is finished. This infuses citrus and floral flavors into the beer without adding much bitterness. The process is normally reserved for stronger and more bitter India pale ales, so Hazed is somewhat unique for a pale ale.
A lack of filtering accounts for the “Hazed” part of the name, and gives the beer a cloudy appearance. The color is a pale gold, with a thin and lacy foam. Smokey malt and citrus hop smells come through, along with a subtle earthy scent.
The taste is very hoppy, but surprisingly not too bitter, with hop flavors largely reminiscent of flowers and fruits such as orange, mango, and lime. Roasted barley contributes to a mostly pretzel-like malt profile as well as accounting for most of the color, with a caramel base malt adding more subtle caramel and bread-like flavors at the finish. Yeast flavors are neutral and subdued, and add to the bread-like character.
Because of the dry-hopping process and its subsequently mild hop character, Hazed and Infused is a good beer for introducing bitterness-averse drinkers to hoppier beers. It also marks an interesting middle ground between the pale ale and IPA styles. The strong citrus flavors match well with fresh Mexican food, and the milder 5% alcohol content makes it easier to drink several in an evening with limited to no ill effects. For creating a full-flavored yet well-balanced version of an American-style pale ale, Boulder Hazed and Infused earns a B+ grade.