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Like catching an edge and crashing into a chairlift tower on the first day of the ski season, bitter India Pale Ales with a sharp bite are not particularly popular right now. These so-called “West Coast” IPAs, which reigned supreme for the last two decades, are now out of fashion in the beer world and becoming increasingly harder to find at your local après ski haunt.
Instead, the softer, juicy style of IPA—commonly hailed as “New England style”—has unofficially won the battle of the brews for the foreseeable future.
Case in point: 10 Barrel Brewing, a Bend, Ore., brewery scene staple and available nationwide, has changed their flagship year-round hoppy pale ale style—Trail Beer, a very drinkable and pleasantly hopped-up pale ale—to Hazy Trail, a more trendy juicy New England style IPA.
Related: WeldWerks Brewing Fit Bits
Just like a brand new, fully stuffed yellow pad wrapped around a lift tower that you don’t see coming until it’s too late, the new 10 Barrel Hazy Trail’s hop notes still hit pretty powerfully. But, relative to having no pad at all on that incoming lift tower, the impact of the hop flavor is muffled and easier to drink, with enjoyable tropical notes throughout.
Worth remembering: Chances are, if you ski into a lift tower a few too many times, padded or not, you’ll feel it in the morning. So I should point out that the Hazy Trail has a higher ABV compared to its predecessor (6.2 percent compared to the Trail Beer’s sessionable 5 percent). So take it easy on that first day this season, and when you’re cracking open a few cold Hazy Trail ales, OK?
A portion of every can and six-pack of 10 Barrel Hazy Trail sold will be donated to the Outdoor Alliance, an organization focused on rallying skiers, bikers, hikers, and everyone who enjoys the outdoors to take action and protect public lands from privatization and climate change. That’s something worth raising a can and drinking to, to say the least.
While I know I’ll miss the Trail Beer, I’m pretty happy with the taste of the Hazy Trail and have a feeling it’s going to be a great beer to enjoy after a day of socially distant skiing this winter. And, while I still prefer West Coast IPAs, I’m happy to report that I’ve only skied into one chairlift tower in my lifetime. It was after a long night of drinking super hoppy IPAs, and it was during the first day of the season.
This is also where I should point out that the West Coast style isn’t dead. Just like Katy Perry, National Talk Like a Pirate Day, fixed-grip double chairlifts, and many other great things that were popular before 2020, super hoppy and bitter IPAs are just in that phase where they are not very trendy at the moment, but will have a renaissance in due time.
Good thing these hazy IPAs are pretty great, too.
10 Barrel Brewing Hazy Trail Notes
- Beer Style: Juicy IPA
- Flavor Notes: Tropical hops, citrus
- Goes Well With: Pre-ski season hikes and mountain bike rides, protecting the outdoors, trendiness
- ABV: 6.2% IBUs: 60
- More Info: 10 Barrel Brewing Website, Untappd Profile
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