Long Trail Pale Ale

I haven’t written a beer review in quite some time. That’s not because I haven’t been drinking great beers, but rather because I tend not to think of it or the beers just weren’t worth writing about (or they’re stuff I drink all the time). I’m also drinking less as part of my weight loss program. Well, Thursday night was a Long Trail tasting at Nikki’s Liquors. In fact, it’s Long Trail Month at Nikki’s with all Long Trail beers on sale all month long. Six packs are only $6.99 and the bombers of the Brewmaster’s Series are $1 off. It’s totally worth it.

Long Trail is one of my favorite breweries. It’s a very underrated brewery in my not-so-humble opinion. They make two Altbiers, which is two more than most breweries make. I love German ales, which tend to be lesser known styles. That gives Long Trail extra points in my book. Anyway, talking about Long Trail isn’t the point of this. They recently released a new year ’round beer – Pale Ale. I’ve had everything they’ve released and they’re all solid beers, though the Belgian White and the Blackberry Wheat leave a bit to be desired. They dropped their spring seasonal, the Hefeweizen, from their repertoire and added the Pale Ale. I love their IPA, which is made in a traditional English style. It’s well balanced and more malty than most American IPA’s. It’s a great IPA, though most hopheads turn their heads because it’s not in-you-face hops. It’s not meant to be. Well, hopheads can rejoice. Long Trail’s Pale Ale is, oddly enough, hoppier than their IPA, at least in flavor.

The beer pours a crystal clear light amber color with a nice one finger head. It has an immediate and lasting aroma of Cascade hops – a nice citrus scent. As you drink the beer, it leaves a nice lacing down the side of the glass. Upon first sip, I get the immediate flavor of those hops – a grapefruit flavor. It has a nice crisp, clean flavor that lingers just enough to savor while not leaving a long-lasting aftertaste. It’s quite refreshing. It was hard to let this one warm up too much, but as it did, I got a bit more of the malt balance. This is more definitely an American Pale Ale. While it’s not punch-you-in-the-face hops, it’s all about the hops. As I finish it, I am left wanting another.

The easiest way for me to describe this beer is through its similarity to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It is a very similar beer, but quite different in many ways. The flavor profile is almost the same, but where they differ is in the body. This one is a little lighter, but in a good way. Where SNPA is heavier in all aspects of the beer, this one is crisp, clean, and refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, I love SNPA, but Long Trail Pale Ale definitely edges it out simply because I want more and more. The crispness and the lack of the lasting aftertaste make it that much better. While many call SNPA a “near-IPA”, this one falls perfectly in the APA category and sits tall there. Many beer lovers, especially hopheads, tend to dismiss the APA category. I mean why get an APA when you can get an IPA? Isn’t an APA just a light version of an IPA? It’s not, and Long Trail Pale Ale is a perfect example of why you would want an APA over an IPA.

The distributor said the beer falls at about 5.2% ABV. It’s a very easy drinking, but very satisfying beer. I bought a six pack. I already drank two of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of it don’t make it through the weekend. Do yourself a favor. Find this beer. Buy this beer. Drink this beer… especially if you’re in RI. The discount at Nikki’s is a great deal.

4 thoughts on “Long Trail Pale Ale”

  1. Jim, we know each other from RESNET and Slashdot, amongst other online places. You should totally join my friends at the German Club some Friday night!

  2. Deep in Pawtucket. Only open on Friday nights, but there’s a good crowd of beer-lovers there.

  3. Good call here. I had this for the first time last night, being very familiar with their IPA and a few other beers. I thought it was pretty bitter and hoppy for a pale ale, American or not.

    I’m not a hop head. They can keep their Punch-you-in-the-eyePA beers.

    Prost!

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