In November of 1989, Long Trail Brewing Company started up in the basement of the old Bridgewater Woolen Mill in Vermont. Quickly outgrowing this first location, they moved down the road in 1995 in order to improve output capacity and amenities.

This is a brewery truly committed to the environment, employing the best sustainable brewing practices. Spent grain and hops from the brewery are fed to local dairy cattle as a food supplement. The brewery condenses steam from the brewing process to use as hot water for the next brewing cycle (saving nearly 2,000 gallons of propane each month).

Now, the important question – is the beer good? From what I’ve had, I am not at all surprised that Long Trail is a craft beer staple in bars and beer shops throughout Vermont. I was able to try a nice variety of beers from Long Trail, including the Long Trail Ale, Summer Ale, Blackbeary Wheat, Limbo IPA, Citrus Limbo IPA, Green Blaze IPA, and Cranberry Gose.

I look forward to grabbing a sampler pack and really diving into each of these beers individually, writing full reviews for each.

Long Trail Ale

“Long Trail Ale is a full-bodied amber ale modeled after the “Alt-biers” of Düsseldorf, Germany. Our top fermenting yeast and cold finishing temperature result in a complex, yet clean, full flavor. Originally introduced in November of 1989, Long Trail Ale beer quickly became, and remains, the largest selling craft-brew in Vermont. It is a multiple medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival.”

A dark amber pour you can see right through, the high carbonation brings up loads of off-white head with impressive lacing. Smells the way you expect a beer to smell. Bready malts and hops swirl in your nostrils, caramel and almond notes along for the ride. Starts sweet with an almost earthy English hop flavor, a mild bitterness that sticks with you after tasting. Medium bodied with a slick finish.

Summer Ale

“An unfiltered golden ale made to chill out summer’s hottest days. Remarkably light on the palate, with a soft Pilsner malt character and a distinct citrus hop aroma. Each sip finishes with a refreshing bitterness that invites another. And at 4.3% ABV this golden beauty is a truly quaffable drinking experience.”

Pours with white head leaving good lacing down the sides. A yellow beer, with only the slightest haziness. The mild citrus hop aroma, a bit weak but perceptible, combines with the pilsner malts. Like the aroma, the most perceptible flavors in the taste are the bready malts and citrus hops, with a mild bitterness. On the light end of medium-bodied beers, this would be easy to put down quite a few on a hot summer’s day.

Blackbeary Wheat

“Brewed with blackberries to impart a pie-on-the-windowsill summertime sweetness, this classic American wheat ale is a refreshing New England original.”

I usually avoid the explicitly fruity beer concoctions, but I have to say I wasn’t disappointed here. With a hazy, straw-colored pour, and a small white head that quickly faded away, it is an inviting beer to behold. The sour blackberry aromas lead you to taste, with a wonderful balance of the sweet and slightly sour fresh blackberry flavors, balanced out with the light malt and hop characters of the rest of the beer. Light-bodied with mild carbonation, this was a pleasant surprise. I won’t be buying any myself, but if you are looking for some wheat beer that is off the beaten path, this may be one to try.

  • ABV: 4.2%
  • IBU: 15
  • Style: American Wheat Ale
  • Rating: 3.6/5
  • Untappd Reviews

Limbo IPA

“A big, mouth-watering IPA, brimming with all the flavors and aromas of the new breed of hops coming out of Australia and the Pacific Northwest.”

A rusty copper orange hue, with an pleasantly obfuscating haze. Creamy white foam with low retention leaves the lightest lacing as you drink. The earthy and spicy hop aromas melt into the sweet caramel malts, leading into a wonderful, medium-bodied beer with a creamy mouthfeel.

The pleasant, spicy hop bitterness and caramel malt flavors finish dry with a lingering aftertaste. A surprisingly malty DIPA.

  • ABV: 7.6%
  • IBU: 80
  • Style: Double/Imperial IPA
  • Rating: 3.7/5
  • Untappd Reviews

Citrus Limbo IPA

“Forbidden fruit is within reach in this grapefruit and tangerine infused take on our mouthwatering Limbo IPA. Dry-hopped with Galaxy and Mosaic hops for an added citrus punch.”

A citrus spin on their Limbo IPA, the Citrus Limbo IPA. Pours a hazy, golden amber color with off-white head that quickly receded. Aromas of grapefruit and tangerine waft from the glass, with notes of floral hops and toasted caramel malts. The taste is not far off from the nose, with a generous malt and mild bitterness that let the grapefuite and tangerine shine through.

Even at an ABV of 7.6% this still doesn’t taste very strong, leaving a nice mild bitter fruity aftertaste long after finishing the glass. Trying one after the other, I can definitely taste the similarities between this and the Limbo IPA, but this one my favorite of the two.

Green Blaze IPA

“Blaze a hoppy trail. Guide yourself through the lupulin landscape of pine, resin and tropical fruit hop notes in this trail-worthy American IPA. The newest year-round offering in our family of ales, Green Blaze IPA features big pine, tropical fruit and resin hop notes with a light, biscuit malt backbone.”

Pours a hazy golden-orange, with large creamy head and decent retention, leaving strong lacing behind. Earthy, pine, grapefruit and toasted biscuit malts take center stage in the aroma. You can immediately taste the grapefruit and pine, followed by sweeter pineapple, papaya and mango.

The toasted biscuit and caramel malt that seem to be a recurring theme with Long Trail soften up the beer in the middle, leaving it quite well-balanced, the lingering bitterness from the hops is never too strong. Medium-bodied and well-carbonated, this beer finishes dry and a bit sticky with an excellent mouthfeel overall. A spectacularly easy-drinking IPA, another great IPA for newcomers to the craft beer scene, something Long Trail really excels at.

Cranberry Gose

“This fruit-filled take on the German-style Gose takes you from bog to barrel in one sip. Brewed with cranberries from Bluewater Farms in Massachusetts, coriander and a splash of salt. The result is a refreshingly tart and effervescent cranberry concoction built to fuel your warm weather-inspired wanderlust.”

A striking reddish-gold color, the thin head quickly fades leaving light lacing on the sample glass. Aromas of cranberries, wheat, and malt. You immediately taste the tart cranberries, balanced by the bready malt backbone, with a tart aftertaste left in your mouth. Crisp, smooth, and very light, this beer isn’t filling, but like most sours, not sure if I could have more than one in a sitting.

Andrij Harasewych
Editor at The Craft Beer Diaries. Devoted husband and father. Excessively geeky. Comic books, video games, and craft beer are my vices. Favorite beer style easily the IPA. Growing love for the DIPA, specifically.
Andrij Harasewych

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