Saturday, February 25, 2012

King of the Case: Long Trail Brewing Company

Wherein I will buy a variety case and decide what the best beer in it is.
Long Trail Brewing Company

Pale AleFeaturing a color between golden and amber, the pale ale had a hoppy scent that didn't translate to a powerful punch upon first sip. On the cosmetic side, it did pour a fairly thick, creamy head. What hops were there did not seem to be offset by a contrasting flavor. As it went on, I began to pick up an almost vinegary feel. All in all, the beer was fairly bland and unsatisfying. Not a major fan.

Blackbeary WheatIt has the yellowish golden color you would expect from a high-profile "lite" beer and, unfortunately, the taste to match. Seriously, it tastes almost exactly like a Miller Lite with blueberry flavoring. Not good. While you can pick up a somewhat pleasing blueberry scent, it is nowhere near enough to redeem this beer. A real flimsy item. I would never get this again.

PollenatorThis is supposed to be a spring ale with honey notes, but the honey doesn't really jump out. That is OK with me because I'm not really into fruity beers, but it would certainly have to lose points for not really achieving its purpose. The color is amber. The scent is overly subtle. The flavor is simply not enough. Sadly, a very run of the mill beer.

Long Trail AleI didn't take a lot of notes on this one. I think I had gotten overly disappointed by this case and wondered what the point was. Anyway, it has a malty flavor and that is about it. There's not too much to this one.

The LabelsI have already talked on this blog about my lack of regard for Long Trail's labels. They feel really old to me. And I don't mean traditional. More like that they were thrown together in five seconds in Powerpoint by a 70-year-old lead designer. So none of these jump out at me right away as being splendidly articulated. I would throw out both the Long Trail Ale and the Pale Ale right away as they are both shots of what I assume is the Long Trail brewery in Vermont (or maybe it is just an idyllic building in the woods)? That leaves the Blackbeary Wheat and the Pollenator. Blackbeary features a bespectacled bear stealing some blackberry pie as a bear of female persuasion threatens to whack him with a rolling pin. The Pollenator, on the other hand, spotlights a bomber-jacketed bear riding a bee while spraying a substance of unconfirmed magical powers onto some sunflowers. I'm going to go with the Pollenator because there is just something cool about a bear riding a bee. Plus, it seems like the sort of thing I would see if I ever tweaked out on mushrooms.

The WinnerHere's the situation: I was going to the beer store to buy some suds for an upcoming Oscar party. I was thinking of what I would get when I noticed a sign in the window. "Long Trail Variety Case - $26.99." Since we are not rich and I frequently spend whatever disposable income we have on beer, I decided I would just go with the Long Trail case right away because it was so "discounted." But here is the thing I found out: That is not really a discounted price. That $26.99 is all this case is worth, if that. It was a very regrettable selection on my part. And it doesn't make me feel good to say that for a few reasons: 1) Long Trail just followed us on Twitter and after they read this review they probably won't anymore; 2) I'm supposed to know beer and I am now very embarassed by what I am serving to my guests at this party; and 3) if they don't suck down all this Long Trail, I am going to have to do it before I can buy anything else and I am not really looking forward to that task. And this is not to bag on Long Trail too hard because I have had beers by them that I have enjoyed. I recently had their Centennial Red 22-ouncer, which was fine, and their Double Bag Ale was one that I remember savoring as well. But the pure fact of the matter is that this variety case is way below par. Not one of these beers would I ever shell out bucks for at a bar. That's just the way it is. This being said, if I were to declare a top beer in this case, I would go with the Pale Ale. While this was the least offensive of the beers, be assured that these beers were like four dudes playing shuffleboard on the Titanic. Somebody may have been declared the winner, but at the end of the day, they are all losers.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

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