Long Trail has been cranking out great craft beer in Vermont since 1989. If I think about it, I don’t remember a time that I didn’t see Long Trail beers on the store shelves all around the Northeast USA.
So, what makes a small brewery, located in nowhere, Vermont, so successful over all these years? Well, I’d say that their signature beer, Long Trail Ale is a big part of that success!
Long Trail Ale is a 4.6% ABV “Altbier”, which means “Old Beer” in German. Apparently, Old Beer has nothing to do with the beer being aged or anything like that. It has to do with it being one of the oldest brewing styles. Ohhhh.
In that case, I’ve never tried an altbier before! This interpretation of the style from Long Trail will be my first. According to the Long Trail website, this is a ‘full-bodied amber ale’ and is also it seems is the best-selling craft beer in Vermont.
Giving it a pour into my official Long Trail glass, its amber alright although a little darker than some other amber ales I’ve had before. It creates a respectable thick head as well.
The aroma – right off the top, malts dominate (two-row, crystal, wheat and chocolate) along with a nice toasty bread. Nice indeed, but nothing incredible. I know Long Trail Ale is a year-round beer, but so far it seems like a good fit for the cooler weather that we’re having right now!
Taste. Again, Long Trail Ale is malt-forward, not much hop comes through in the flavor, and I’ll assume that’s a characteristic of the altbier style. Much like the aroma, there’s a toasty breadyness that is part of it all, and I’d also like to say that its maybe just a touch too sweet.
I mentioned above that the beer is supposed to be ‘full bodied’. Well, I didn’t get that so much. Its NOT watery-thin, but we’re not drinking a stout here folks. Let’s say its medium-bodied for those keeping score.
Overall, I liked the Long Trail Ale. Coming in at 4.6% ABV, I think this makes a great candidate for a sessionable beer. I’d also say that people who aren’t usually craft-beer drinkers might really like this beer. I found it to be quite flavorful, but at the same time not overly challenging with weird flavors or ingredients. Long Trail Ale is a good beer, for a good price. Pick some up and enjoy it during the cooler months of the year!
Now, the other thing in recent news is this hurricane Irene, which did a number on my home state of NJ, but also laid waste to many parts of Vermont, where Long Trail is located. Reports have it that many of the roads and bridges in the area are wiped-out, or nearly so. That sucks.
I found some pictures of what the brewery looked like on Long Trail’s Facebook page, and it ain’t purdy at all. Turns out that they’re already cleaned up and back in business, which is a major miracle. Just a reminder to buy some Long Trail ales this season if you’re a fan!