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Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.

At this point, some of my friends – who share the same affinity for craft beer – know I write this weekly column, where I discuss a specific beer in my fridge and then rate it.  So now, these friends will often give me certain brews they’ve been enjoying, either to get my opinion or in the hopes I’ll do a Thirsty Thursday piece on that specific beer – or maybe they’re just awesome friends!  Whatever the case may be, this week’s beer was a “gift” as a friend was anxious to try a new brewery that opened in our region and he picked up several different four-packs to give it a try. I have yet to pop open the other two he gave me but I figured this one was too good not to share – it’s New Trail Brewing Company’s Goggles Hazy Double IPA.

Now, if you’re not familiar with New Trail, don’t worry, it’s a brand-spanking-new brewery that’s really only been on the scene for a little under a year.  Based out of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the home of the Little League World Series, New Trail has been quietly making a name for itself in the eastern part of the state. I had heard of it through word of mouth.  The company, which combines its love for the great outdoors with its love for beer-making, wanted to make something for everyone to enjoy while exploring new places, all while tapping into local resources. New Trail currently has four flagship beers, with several other non-traditional efforts.

Goggles is an 8.8 percent alcohol by volume beer, focusing on some of New Trail’s favorite hops, such as Galaxy and Citra, which make for a dank and excessively fruity beer.  The label does little to convey this message or any message for that matter, other than stating to “keep cold and drink fresh.” I always appreciate a summary on the label. The artwork, however, is eye-catching, with a green and orange theme featuring a pair of goggles and mountains, along with the company’s logo, appearing mirrored in the eyewear.

When I popped open Goggles, I was immediately entranced by the smell.  If you wanted to know just what a hazy-styled beer should smell like, this would be a prime example.  There are strong citrus notes – I noticed some mango, passion fruit and blueberry – and a faint whiff of both malts and honey.  Either way, it was the perfect appetizer for how delicious the beer tasted. When I poured it, Goggles was super hazy, with a cloudy orange-yellow color – and an accompanying head that was white and very frothy.

The taste syncs up with the aroma rather nicely, thanks to an abundance of dankness from the mango and perhaps grapefruit juice.  It’s moderately dry, bitter, juicy and, most importantly, smooth. New Trail made a beer that’s easy to drink and even easier to gulp. While I only had one 16-ounce pounder can, I would have been perfectly content drinking one or two more, to be honest.

I can understand why they put a mountain on the label of this beer.  It strikes me as one that would be perfect for a day out on the slopes, with a strong flavor and a drinkability that lends itself to winter.  Sure, it might sound like I’m gushing over this beer, and maybe I am, but I could not have been more pleasantly surprised by it.  As far as hyper-local Pennsylvania breweries go, I would rank this as probably the best hazy DIPA I have had and although it might not be quite on the same levle as some of Vermont efforts I have had, I think Googles is a quality beer for New Trail to hang its hat on and it tastes like something from a well-established, high production independent brewery.  

I’m not sure what a four-pack of Goggles costs, I have to assume it’s between $14-$16 but it’s certainly worth it. And when I am able to find more in my area, I plan to pick some up. The average rating on BeerAdvocate was 4.29 and I think that’s pretty accurate and I’m scoring it 8.4 out of 10. If you like hazy-style beers, put this one on your list!

Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.