Long Trail Brings Limbo IPA and Long Trail Ale to Cincinnati
Long Trail Brewing Company of Bridgewater Corners, VT announced they were entering the Ohio market about a month ago. You may not be familiar with them as they have mainly distributed on the east coast. They’ve been brewing since 1989, long before some of today’s more popular Vermont breweries made a big splash in the craft beer world.
They were kind enough to send me samples of the first two beers to be distributed in our area so I wanted to provide a formal preview for you all before you see it in stores and bars (which should be any day now).
This IPA was born out of an experimental series originally served in their brewery taproom. It was likely in response to the public’s insatiable demand for well-hopped “west coast” style IPAs. The traditional malt-laden IPA born out of the 1990’s brewing movement just didn’t hold favor any longer. Accordingly, they went for a mix of American and Australian hops to create a beer with a dominant hop forward flavor. And, they succeeded… big time!
Pouring this into my IPA glass revealed an orange-amber beer with a well formed white fluffy head. This produced some excellent lacing as I worked my way through the glass.
Dipping my nose into the glass revealed a mammoth hop aroma of pine, citrus, tropical fruit, and an almost honey-like sweetness. The aroma alone had me intoxicated as I took multiple, multiple whiffs.
I finally went forth with a sip – taking one for the team. I was instantly hit with hops going in order from an orange-citrus to tropical fruit candy to a sharp pine that finished extremely dry.
Subsequent sips revealed a similar flavor but I started to pick up on a subtle biscuit malt with a hint of sweetness. Again, it reminded me of honey but after watching a promo video about the beer I think it was just caramel malt. Either way, it works well with this beer to add just enough balance.
The mouth feel was a medium-light body with moderate carbonation which rounded out this very well done IPA that holds up to some of its legendary colleagues coming out of Vermont.
Would I go pick up a six-pack? Absolutely. Would I pick up a second six-pack later? Yes! This is a home run if you’re a hop head! Check out this video for a little more on the story behind this beer.
Long Trail Ale
If Limbo is the beer to satisfy the savage hop head then Long Trail is exact opposite as it uses an impressive array malts to fire up the senses of a more refined palate. This beer has been brewed the same since 1989 which is really saying something these days. It is considered an amber, or more accurately, a German Altbier style which simply means “old style” referring to an ale instead of a lager.
It pours a pretty copper color with a dense off-white foam. The deep whiff fills my nose with some malty sweetness and just a hint of a floral hop aroma.
The first sip reveals caramel and biscuit malt flavors that then fold into a noble floral hop flavor and finishes slightly fruity. I think that fruity flavor is from hops and not an ester. It features a medium-light body with a moderate-low level of carbonation that finishes pretty crisp and moderately dry.
Going into this I wasn’t expecting much but I walked away with a very favorable impression of an elegantly made beer that has some complexity and a very nice balance between malt and hops. This is a perfect beer for when you’re burned out on hop bombs. It’s a good idea to keep a few of these sitting in the fridge for when your looking for an easy drinking beer. I now know why this has been brewed continuously for the past 25 years!