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Mar
23

Long Trail Traditional IPA

By Andy Murphy
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ipa-mondayStarting each week with a rush of IPA hops began as a force to counterbalance the Monday doldrums, but the tradition has grown to symbolize a fresh start for each week. And after a week marked by a couple of less-than-stellar beers, IPA Monday couldn’t come quickly enough.

I was pleased to sit back and enjoy tonight’s easy-going IPA. We can all only hope the week goes by as smoothly as this IPA did.

Long Trail IPA is a complex but mild IPA in the English style. According to the Long Trail website:

Real IPA, as it was first brewed in the days of the British Empire, was not he carefully filtered brew that we call IPA today. The first IPAs were unfiltered and featured extra hops and higher strength as a preservative for the long trip from England to the colony of India. Our Traditional IPA is naturally carbonated, dry-hopped & unfiltered like the old days.

I let the Long Trail IPA warm up to about 50 degrees before opening up the bottle, and for that patience I was rewarded with a soothing citrus and caramel aroma. The IPA was pale gold and very hazy — thousands of tiny particles floated in the beer, unmoving, densely packed — and the pour produced two fingers of creamy, white foam.

Grassy and lemony, the hops are not so pronounced as to overwhelm the caramel malt. Citrus aroma fills your nose while the caramel malt hits your tongue. The hops and the malts balance each other nicely, both present throughout most of the sip. As the beer swirls through your mouth, there’s a moment when the hops flex and stretch, but the bitterness throws in the towel before the battle begins. Caramel rounds out the finish, with a hint of hops more present in the finishing aroma than the taste buds.

At 56 IBU and 5.9% ABV, Long Trail IPA is extremely drinkable. This is not an IPA likely to generate feverish praise from beer fanatics; the American craft ale palate (including mine) seems to prefer huge, dominant hops to the more subtle flavor blends. But there’s plenty of flavor and complexity with this beer, especially at warmer temperatures.

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Categories : Beer a Day, IPA Monday

2 Comments

1

Is there a rule of thumb for the approximate temperature each type of beer should at before drinking, or is it personal preference? I’ve only recently (last 3-4 months) learned to appreciate letting a beer warm up a bit, and I feel like I need to retry a lot of beers as a result.

2

Drew, that’s a good question, and one worth some research so I can write an informed response. Maybe even an article on the topic.

As a part of this year-long challenge, I’ve noticed many beers will list the recommended serving temperature — either on the bottle or in the website description. I began using a thermometer to measure the temperature of the beer when I pour it, and now I’m not too bad at guessing how long to let a beer warm up from the fridge, how long to let it chill down from the cellar, or when to just drink it from the cellar.

Unless otherwise recommended, I’ve been drinking most of these beers at around 40 degrees. The Long Tail recommended 45-50, so I drank it a bit warmer. I really don’t think the beer would have been as interesting if it were served at 36 degrees — at 50 (and likely higher than 50, as it continued to warm in my hand) I was able to differentiate between components of the beer.

If you try a few beers back to back — say one at 36 degrees and one at 46 degrees — please let me know how much of a difference it makes. With my one a day rule, that’s an experiment I can’t pull off!

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