It’s Looking Hazy Around Here

by Ashly Winchester / Mar 16, 2021
It’s Looking Hazy Around Here

You Asked, We Listened!

We are excited to announce that Free Wave, our award-winning Hazy IPA, is going to be available year-round! We are thrilled to be bringing this brew back full time for you to enjoy whenever you want.

Athletic Brewing Company founders, Bill Shufelt and John Walker, were imagining careless spring days full of sunshine when they developed this beer. They wanted everyone to be able to enjoy a flavorful hazy IPA any time, whether you’re hanging out at the beach with friends or playing with the kids at the park.

John explained that it represents going your own way and doing your own thing. “The open road worked with the imagery and choosing your own path,” he says. He then discussed the evolution of the name from Double Hop IPA to Free Way, and then eventually settling on Free Wave. 

It makes sense, as Bill and John have been paving their own road within the brewing industry by crafting a nonalcoholic beer. With Free Wave in particular, they weren’t sure that their special brewing process would yield an enjoyable and truly nonalcoholic Hazy IPA.

This was pretty early on in their nonalcoholic beer journey. “It was right after we fired up our pilot system in Connecticut, so in 2018,” John recalls. With a laugh he adds, “We had just gone commercial and Bill was like, ‘hey, we should make a double IPA,’ and I was like… No.”

John didn’t think they could create a double IPA because there would be too much alcohol. “I was a doubter,” he said, “but Bill was encouraged and had some ideas on how to possibly do it… We kinda rethought our newly invented brewing process and how to make it work for a hoppier style of beer. And we did it… I like to say that this is actually Bill’s baby. It’s his brainchild.”

John explains that the brewing process is just another little change in an already modified system. When I ask him about the method, he elucidates, saying that they use more hops in less liquid, creating a more concentrated solution. “We use a specialized hops called Cryo Hops, which instead of using the entire flower, we just use the oil glands from the hop flower,” he says, "it's pretty standard in the industry."

Cryo Hops is an innovation in hops processing technology that has changed the industry. It basically involves taking the hops cone and subjecting it to an extremely low temperature and nitrogen, removing the flower bracts, and harvesting the oil-rich flower parts, called lupulin. The process displaces oxygen and stops degeneration of the oils, thereby increasing the quality and freshness.

The concentrated lupulin powder can provide high levels of hop flavors and aroma without a lot of bitterness, giving the beer its mouth-watering flavor. It also allows the brewer to fine tune the flavor profile more. The haziness that you can see in Free Wave comes partly from the use of the specialized Cryo Hops, and is also partly due to the wheat and malt backbone.

Free Wave is loaded with Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic hops. These hops varieties provide the fruitiness that makes this Hazy IPA a fan favorite. We’re incredibly proud to say that it won the Low to No Alcohol Beer award, as well as the Supreme Champion Beer award at the 2020 International Beer Challenge, outperforming almost 1,000 alcoholic beers. A huge honor!

Whether you're heading out on that springtime road trip, hitting the beach, or craving a post-workout brew, this beer is perfect for any activity or whenever life requires a clear head. And with only 70 calories, it easily fits into your healthy lifestyle.