You gotta hand it to clickbait writers, finding the perfect combination of words to lure unsuspecting saps in, either for hate clicks or just to satisfy curiosity, is an artform. And as much as I, as most people probably do, like to believe I am immune to such charms, every once in a while I see a combination of words so baffling I have to click through to figure out what the fuck they’re talking about.
Headlines like “Smoothie IPAs May or May Not Actually Exist.” Easily some of the words of all time.
I know what each of these words mean independently. I know what a smoothie is. I (sorta) know what an IPA is. But the concept of a smoothie IPA is completely foreign to me. And now they’re telling me, in the same sentence they’ve introduced the concept to me, that it might not even be real? Is this 2 weeks in a row that the food industry is trying to gaslight me?
If you’re just as lost as me, let me summarize the article. A smoothie IPA is basically a very fruit-forward IPA, usually, but not always, made by adding large amounts of a fruit puree into the beer at some point in the process. Their tentative existence comes from the fact that it’s such a new variety that there’s no official standardized definition for things like methodology or what percentage can be fruit, so it’s sort of a Wild West of people making whatever they want and calling it a smoothie IPA. In the same vein, there’s also something called milkshake IPAs, which I guess contain lactose for added sweetness and creaminess, and are also typically unfiltered and, in the words of the article, kinda look like egg drop soup.
Does that answer all your questions? No? Me neither. Why is anyone drinking these?
The article mentions a lot of people, from brewmasters to redditors, believing these to be disservices to the craft of beer brewing. And while I really couldn’t care less about beer, I can’t help but feel like I’m having an equal but opposite reaction. My tastes run on the fruity side. But if I want something fruity, I reach for something like wine or a Malibu and grapefruit juice. And hell, there’s plenty of canned wines and hard seltzers with graphic designs on them on par with some of the trendier IPAs, so it’s not even like we’re talking about situations where it would be socially unacceptable to drink anything but beer.
Craft beer bro culture has long eluded me. The toxically masculine mental gymnastics of “No fruity drinks! Except smoothie IPAs, because it’s beer! Even if nothing about it resembles beer anymore! Because then it would be a fruity drink!” makes my head hurt.
At the end of the day, drink whatever you think tastes good. If that includes these, knock yourself out. But if you have to jump through this many hoops to like a beer, it’s possible you just might not like beer (and that’s ok).