Contact Haze is a fantastic hazy IPA brewed by Elysian Brewing Company, and the perfect beer for the inaugural Common Room Beer of the Week. It has been one my favorite brews this summer, and is great beer for drinking outside in the sunny Seattle summers (yes, that’s not a misprint – Seattle has beautiful summers). It’s also always the first choice when the beverage cart comes around at West Seattle Golf Course, which happens to be our September Golf Course of the Month.
The beer itself has a beautiful golden hue, bringing to mind the wheat fields of central and eastern Washington. It is cloudy, but has a really neat stratification in a glass, with just a sliver of clearer liquid on the bottom. It’s a very active brew too, with small bubbles constantly rising throughout the glass, almost like a champagne. The aroma is wonderful, with an initial burst of hops on the nose fading into citrus and pine. It has a really refreshing, pleasant taste, with the hops that are characteristic of an IPA balanced out by the correct amount of malt and barley to make this beer’s palate special. Contact Haze has a unique palate for an IPA, as it is not at all harsh, but is actually very smooth, likely due to the fact that in addition to the hops, pale ale malt, and barley in the beer, there is also oat malt. In some ways, the palate is similar to a darker beer, such as a porter, rather than your standard IPA. The beer has a great aftertaste too, with just a hint of sweetness on the tongue immediately after swallowing. The Contact Haze beer can design, which features a mind being opened, is definitely on point.
In summary, though this is a great summer beer, its characteristics help it stand up just fine in the rainy Seattle winters, and its not hard to see why its one of the five beers that Elysian Brewing has on its year-round rotation. Speaking of Elysian, it is a proud Seattle brewery that was founded in 1996 and traces its roots back to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood just outside of downtown. Because they brew great beer, Elysian has rapidly expanded, opening a large production facility in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood in 2011, and then basically doubling the size of the facility in 2018. Elysian also partnered with Anheuser-Busch in 2015, joining the Busch family of craft brands. This move allowed Elysian to expand its reach and now-national distribution network while maintaining its independence, as management, brewing, and operations are still based in Seattle.