Ask Adam: Can I Drink Hazy IPA if I’m Lactose Intolerant?
The hazy IPA is the beer craze that just won’t quit. Despite brewers saying they are getting tired of brewing these beers, the public is definitely not tired of drinking them. And it’s easy to see why — hazy IPAs are bright, pillowy, full of citrus flavors from copious hopping methods, and overall, delicious. It’s an approachable style that is bringing even more drinkers into the IPA category. For the most part, if you’re lactose intolerant, you are fine to drink these hazy brews. Just make sure before you do that they weren’t brewed with lactose, otherwise known as milk sugar.
Lactose, or milk sugar, is often added to hazy IPAs to enhance the body and mouthfeel of the liquid, as well as its sweetness. It’s what often gives the beer its characteristic creamy texture that has become synonymous with the style. Lactose also serves to help mask the higher gravity that many of these beers come in at, with added sweetness causing your brain to perceive less of the alcohol than is present.
But if you have a lactose intolerance, avoiding beers that have been brewed with milk sugar is a good idea because while most sugar is converted to alcohol during the brewing process, lactose is not. As an unfermentable sugar, lactose will remain in the finished beer, and depending on how severe your allergy is, it may not make you feel that great.
And by the way, don’t assume that only hazy IPAs sometimes utilize lactose. Milk stouts are actually some of the first beers in the craft beer world to play around with this ingredient, so if you have an allergy, it’s always a good idea to ask what’s in your beer before you drink it.
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