Beer Review: Haze Charmer (Troegs Independent Craft Brewing)

Haze Charmer (in bottle) by Troegs Independent Craft Brewing, at The Mill in Hershey before the Seinfeld Stand-Up Show at the Hershey Theater (March 6th, 2020).

I debated this morning on which beer to do next. I have a few on the ‘docket’ from Friday. At Funck’s, while waiting for my daughter’s ballet class to end, I had Icicle by New Trail and their Cinnamon Barrel Aged Sticky. Both of those are ones I want to review. Also, I don’t normally do flagship beers; or full yearly releases and stuff. And thats what Haze Charmer is – its Troeg’s first new yearly in four years. But, I wanted to do a beer from Friday, and wanted to do tie it in with Seinfeld, so I figured the more recent beer I had before going. Plus, lets me do a bit of promotion for The Mill as well as handle a popular buzz-worthy beer (the Haze Charmer). I don’t normally like to do back-to-back beers from the same brewery; so I might break up the New Trail beers. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do the Sticky and then Tuesday try one of the California beers to do, then Wednesday do Icicle.

I do like to help promote local businesses and restaurants when I can; so helping out both Troegs and The Mill is kind of a win-win. And since Haze Charmer is pretty darn good, it’ll make for a good beer review. Especially since there’s a fair bit of history to do with this beer, since like Nimble Giant and some of their other beers its started off life as a scratch beer and gone through several iterations before becoming the beer you might be drinking right now.

Troegs Brewing promotional piece for Haze Charmer (photo from Troegs Brewing)

Upon its release, this certainly got lots of media attention. Hitting all kinds of news outlets, beer blogs, beer sites, from everything from little blogs to big news sites (locally). PennLive, NewsBreak, MyBeerBuzz, BrewFinder, BrewBound, TheFullPint, etc, etc, etc. So needless to say, it’s gotten a fair amount of buzz. For good reason too. I’ll provide some links to their various sites at the end of this review – though be forewarned, I’ve come to discover most of them are just the exact same article; basically a written press release by Troegs and then copied and pasted by the various media outlets. (If you take note on this blog, I do my own news articles, I don’t like doing press release copy and paste jobs.)

My primary source for information on this beautiful beer comes from the Troegs Blog itself. Where they discuss its process a bit more in-depth (though they don’t list which exact Scratches this was, I’ve done some digging, and think I can piece it together.) Using on Untappd, I searched Troegs Beers and filtered it for “PALE ALE” and selected Newest to Oldest. And based on logos, and descriptions of “hazy pale ale” I think I’ve broken down its chain of scratches:

* Scratch 404 – Scratch 404 – Dry-Hopped Hazy Pale Ale #6
* Scratch 403 – Scratch 403 – Dry-Hopped Hazy Pale Ale #5
* Scratch 401 – Scratch 401 – Dry-Hopped Hazy Pale Ale #4
* Scratch 399 – Scratch 399 – Dry-Hopped Hazy Pale Ale

There’s also a few other scratch pale ales:

* Scratch 398 – Scratch 398 – Dry-Hopped Hazy Pale Ale #2
* Scratch 397 – Scratch 397 – Dry-Hopped Hazy Pale Ale
* Scratch 396Scratch 396 – Dry-Hopped Pale Ale
* Scratch 393 – Scratch 393 – Dry-Hopped Pale Ale (Azacca, Comet & Idaho 7)
* Scratch 390 – Scratch 390 – Amarillo Fresh Hop Ale
* Scratch 374 – Scratch 374 – Oat Pale Ale (w/ Azacca, Citra & Denali)

Going back further, there is even more scratches. There’s also the Trail Day Pale Ale they released in 2019, that I reviewed. I also reviewed Scratch 396 – Dry Hopped Pale Ale; as part of a flight and beer review I did a while back as well. So looking back over those, you get a semblance of an idea where they were going with the creation of this new Haze Charmer. According to Untappd Troegs has 33 Pale Ale – American beers, 5 Pale Ale – Belgians, and 1 Pale Ale – New England variants. The New England was the precursor for the Trail Day Pale Ale that they released in cans: Scratch 380 – Trail Day Dry-hopped Pale Ale.

Most of their listings are the non-specific; Pale Ale – American Ale. Which is the typical default standard setting for pale ales (made in America). Though, with the “haze” and the “flaked oats” and stuff of a few of these pale ales, they could fall under the category of “Pale Ale – New England”, so its interesting to see that they have just one listed that way.

Haze Charmer bottle / can label and brewing notes. (Image originally courtesy of Troeg’s website, this version came by way of MyBeerBuzz through Troegs.)

I love how Troegs’ lists what hops, oats, grain, yeast strain, etc, that they use in their brewing process. Gives homebrewers some ideas of how to make their own near-clones and gives you a look at the process, a peak behind the curtain if you will. So let’s first take a look at the hops included in this beer.

Hops included are: Comet, Azacca, and Idaho 7.
First up on our list is Comet:

“Comet’s flavor profile rests heavily on a strong accent of grapefruit. It does feature solid bittering capabilities and traditionally brewers considered it best suited as a bittering agent for American-style lagers. Recently however, there has been a surge in its use as a dry-hop in ales and IPA’s.” (Hopslist – Comet)

Next up is Azacca:
“Even with its high alpha acids, Azacca still works well as a dual-use hop, giving off a pleasant mix of tropical fruits kissed with citrus. On the palate it’s particularly spicy, with mango, pineapple and some pine and tangerine-esque qualities. It has also been likened in nature to some New Zealand-bred varieties.” (Hopslist – Azacca)

Last is Idaho 7:
Idaho #7 hops are known for their piney, tropical, fruity, citrusy, earthy, and floral flavors and aromas. Typically used as an Aroma/Flavor hop with high alpha acid levels and average cohumulone content. Its strong hop character makes it ideal for IPAs, APAs and any other hop forward beer.” (MoreBeer – Idaho 7)

Now we’re starting to piece together this beer. Getting an idea of how it ticks. We’re going to skip over the yeast involved, primarily because there’s not much to discuss. And for homebrewers its not something they can really do anything with. The label lists the yeast strain as “DIPA Ale”, meaning their in house Double IPA strain. It is important to point out that their using a Double IPA yeast strain rather than a regular IPA yeast strain, so their using a strain able to handle a higher ABV and hop usage (even though Haze Charmer only clocks in at 5.5% ABV).

Moving to the grains, they list: Pale Malt Oats and Unmalted Wheat.

For Pale Malt Oats, Deer Creak Malt House has this:
“Pale Oats are versatile with plenty of character for Saison or Pale Ale recipes. Also well suited to add body and mouth-feel to Stout, Porter, and IPA recipes” (Deer Creek Malthouse – Pale Malt Oats)

Northern Brewer has this to say about Unmalted Wheat:
“This is raw wheat kernels that haven’t been malted – perfect for some traditional styles like Wit and Lambic. It adds a ton of mouthfeel and provides a very cloudy finished beer in a Wit or Hefeweizen. A multi-step or decoction mash is recommended.” (Northern Brewer – Unmalted Wheat)

I think we got a good idea what kind of beer we have now. We’ve broken down the scratch beer process to get from Point A to Point B; we’ve taken a look at the ingredients – hops, yeast, grain; now its just time to actually sit back, drink it, and review it!

Haze Charmer by Troegs Independent Craft Brewing at The Mill, in Hershey PA

Beer: Haze Charmer
Brewery: Troegs Independnt Brewing
Style: Pale Ale – American
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: None Listed
Untappd Description: Haze Charmer emerges from a soft, swirling cloud of oats and unfiltered wheat. Vigorous dry-hopping adds a second phase of Haze, propping up the oils of El Dorado and Citra hops. Each step delivers notes of juicy pineapple, fresh grapefruit and candied peach balanced by a hint of white pine and low bitterness. We taste: juicy pineapple, fresh grapefruit, candied peach, hint of white pine.

Firstly, let me say this paired wonderfully with The Mill burger and fries. Love my hamburgers rare, and this was practically still mooing. Good delicious bloody, where I need the fries to soak up all the grease and fat and blood. Delicious! (And yes, I know I’ve said on here time and again, how I’m not a foodie, but when I do eat, I EAT.) Definitely try out their burgers sometime if you’re ever in the Hershey area. Fantastic. Great fries too.

Anyway, appearance for the beer is pretty spot on for a hazy, danky, New England IPA. Except its a pale ale, and not “technically” considered a New England Pale Ale. Pouring this from the bottle to glass at the bar, it takes on a beautiful bright orange hue. Almost yellow, but definitely golden. Its bubbly, got a great fluffy super well carbonated head. Good bubbles, various sizes, good lacing, great carbonation, great color.

Aroma is fantastic too. Out of the bottle and into the glass, you get strong notes of the fruity hops involved. A lot of pineapple hop notes, peach, a hint of mango perhaps, some grapefruit – juicy not tart, sweet, not tart, with a bit of a foresty earthy musky hint underneath all of these great strong fruity hoppy notes.

This just tastes like a wonderful beer. And thats where this beer really shines, and where all beers either fall or live up to its standards, not by appearance and color, and smell and aroma, but by taste. Yes, we first eat (and drink) with our eyes, but the flavor, the taste, determines how much we love or like or hate a beer. But have no fear… you won’t be hating this one! This is juicy, straight delicious juicyness. No bitterness, nothing detracting or taking away from the floral and fruity hop notes. Juicy grapefruit, rather than tart grapefruit, juicy peach, with kind of a carmalized candyness to it, kinda like those peach ring fruit gummies, pineapple in spades, a hint of earthy musky, forest, perhaps pine or cedar, something like frosted tips, perhaps vanilla. There is certainly a smoothness to this. There is no off flavors, nothing detracting from this, its just a smooth sweet, juicy, delicious, tasty beer, that goes down quick. And at 5.5% there is no massive buzz or anything to this. Could easily kill a six-pack of this myself while watching a game, and come summer time this beer will be even more delicious sitting out on a patio or after mowing. And six-packs of this at Sheetz and such are only going for 11-13$. Can’t beat that price at all!

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.83 (as of 3.8.20)

After my father and I finished our meal at The Mill, we went to the Hershey Theater, and saw Jerry Seinfeld do his stand-up comedy. Mario Joyner was his opening act. Both guys killed it, was a fantastic show. But in a typical Seinfeldian bit, my dad and I didn’t even sit next to each other. My dad doesn’t buy or do anything online, so he went to the actual box office to get tickets. Well, by the time he got there, they were practically sold out, but had two tickets remaining… just in different sections. So, my dad got the tickets because… well, tickets are better than no tickets. Overall, it was a great show. His Pop Tarts bit was probably my favorite, followed up by maybe the horse bit. Mario’s bit on why the GPS is great was also really good.

My view of the stage – Row C seat 9.
Mario Joyner – Hershey Theater – 3.6.20
Jerry Seinfeld -Hershey Theater – 3.6.20

Finally, a last shout out to The Mill in Hershey. Fantastic food, great servers and bartenders, and a beautiful restaurant. Located close to the Giant Center, Hershey Theater, etc. Pretty good selection of beers as well (nothing crazy, but better than just Coors and Miller). So be sure to check them out if your in the area.

This definitely turned out to be a much longer review than intended, but I like it. Hope you all did too. Look for some New Trail beer reviews coming up. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and click the subscribe and like buttons here on the blog.

Slainte!

-B. Kline

Haze Charmer at The Mill

CITATIONS and SOURCES:

Published by BKline

Author and administrator for : TheBeerThrillers. https://thebeerthrillers.home.blog/

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