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Belt’s Beer Garden: Why So Cirrus?

12 West’s Cirrus Haze, a NEIPA with a pair of cryo hops

I don’t really talk about my personal life at all on here…but I’m currently in the middle of moving from my hometown in Chicagoland to a new city in California some 2200 miles away…so you might be seeing more western beers for a little bit.

However, while I’m waiting for my new place to be finished, I will be staying with family in Arizona. And my first beer from out here comes from a brewery I hadn’t heard of - 12 West Brewing Company.

12 West began in Mesa, Arizona back in late 2016 (right around the last time I was out this way) and has since expanded, opening a second location in nearby Gilbert, AZ, about 13 miles southeast of their OG taproom. They offer a slew of styles but seem to mostly focus on IPAs/pale ales. Naturally I went for one of those hopped up brews, trying a can of their Cirrus Haze.

Cirrus Haze is a New England-style IPA brewed with a pair of cryo hops - Amarillo and Mosaic - and lactose. It has a 7.2% ABV and a four-pack of 16-ounce cans costs about $18.

This hazy IPA poured a bright, but murky, golden orange color with about a finger and a half of eggshell white head topping the beer. The foam quickly fizzled down into a thin ring around the edge of the glass, leaving some moderate lacing as it did so.

The aroma was big on tropical fruit flavors with a nice backing of flaked grains. Pineapple, mango, orange, and a hint of papaya were easily identifiable and provided some massively juicy notes. Sitting underneath the fruit were some light flaked wheat and oat notes, which did just enough to balance out the aroma.

My first sip started with a touch of hoppy bitterness and a flash of carbonation before those fruit flavors really began to burst.

As in the smell, it was the pineapple and mango that led the way. The pineapple hit hardest, with its distinct acidic flavor really popping. The sweeter mango balanced out that acidic characteristic and then a wave of orange/tangerine appeared, mixing in with mango to provide an insanely sweet and juicy flavor that ran for a little while.

Towards the middle there was a bit of pithy grapefruit that appeared and brought a dash of bitterness and a lightly dry, sticky feeling with it.

Quickly after that grapefruit flavor appeared, everything began winding down. Cirrus Haze finished quite cleanly, with just a tiny bit of that dry/sticky feeling lingering behind for a few moments.

It was a very crushable hazy IPA. The 7.2% ABV was hidden insanely well and it was a massively juicy, tropical brew. There was a bit too much pineapple for my liking, but that just comes down to personal preference…however, if you like that flavor, you’ll love this brew.

My first dive into 12 West beers was a big hit and I can’t wait to try more of their stuff while I’m here!

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