Before we review Long Trail Hibernator, for The Brew Club, let me start by saying that Long Trail is one of my favorite breweries. Not so much because I love all of their beers above all others, but because when I’ve vacationed in Vermont with my Wife over the years, we stay at a place that isn’t too far from the brewery in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont.
I’ve been drinking Long Trial beer for years on tap at the Corners Inn, (Chef Brad is Awesome!) and thinking how good it was! Little did I know I’d be running a beer review site! So, I credit Long Trail Brewery with inadvertently introducing me to the Craft Brewing concept long ago, even though I really didn’t know what it was! Long Trail aside, Vermont really has an incredible craft beer culture.
Surprisingly, Long Trail Hibernator is the first of their beers to get a review on The Brew Club as part of our most recent exchange – Winter Seasonal Beers.
Starting with the visuals, Hibernator is unfiltered, so you can see a bit of cloudiness as you hold the beer up to a light. It pours a reddish color, and created a nice, tannish head that went down to a coating on the beer’s surface. The lacing wasn’t incredible or anything, but it did cling to the glass all the way to the finish.
Hibernator is a Scottish-style ale that ranks up at about 6% ABV if you go by the info on their website. As such, it has a smell that is dominated by sweet and malty aromas, nothing too strong overall, but I would say there is a little touch of a caramel or maybe honey in there too. Interestingly enough, as I went through this beer, I started to also pick up something of an earthy scent as well that I had not really noticed at first.
As I write this, its a balmy 29 degrees outside in New Jersey, but we’re going down to 19 by tonight! Will the Long Trail Hibernator warm me up? Lets see!
This is a very drinkable and interesting beer. It has, not surprisingly, a strong malty flavor, is very smooth, and it has a really interesting aftertaste that is just a little hard for me to place. There is not much in the way of hops in the flavor, but it does come through strangely in the aftertaste if you wait a minute between sips. The hop bite is very slight, but its there at the very, very end. In addition, there is a slight, slight alcohol flavor that comes out in the end as well.
If you are just drinking the beer, and not waiting a minute between sips like a spaz, it is a well balanced beer and doesn’t do anything wrong in my opinion. I could see having a few of these with friends as a winter treat, and would say its a safe bet to try if you like malty ales. A good ‘session beer’ as they say. The mouthfeel is somewhere in the medium range – it isn’t too heavy, and there’s some body to it. The Hibernator feels a little slick and not watery at all.
So, could the Long Trail Hibernator be my ‘go-to’ winter ale? Very possibly. I liked it, but while it is very different than the Blue Moon or Brooklyn Brewing winter brews we’ve tried so far, I can’t really say it was a standout in comparison. That being said, I would definitely have the Hibernator again and I give it a slight edge over the competition with 3.5 stars!