Review Date 4/13/2010
Interesting little story here. So I'm having all this fun reading Pete Brown's really cool book, Hops and Glory. It's the story of a man, a keg of beer, and a trip across the ocean. The beer, of course, is India Pale Ale, and reading about it makes me want to drink one. But then I get to thinking about why Pete lugged beer across the ocean: he wanted to replicate the conditions the original IPAs underwent on their way from England to India. Sloshed around in a cargo hold, mellowed through varying temperatures, aged by the long sea voyage.
So, I'm wanting an IPA that's been through all that too. Good luck with that, I tell myself, but then a light goes on in the old noggin and I remember that I have a bomber bottle of Long Trail Brewmaster Series Double IPA sitting in the beer fridge. To be fair, it's a bit stronger than the original IPAs (8.6% alcohol by volume versus about 7%), but that's not too far off. The hops are different, too, of course. But what the heck. We're having fun here.
Now about the journey. I can't say that my bottle has been to India, or even gone near the ocean to be honest. But, it did travel from the brewery in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont, to a warehouse somewhere in Rhode Island, onto a truck again to be delivered to Haxton's Liquors in Warwick. It sat there for an undetermined amount of time until I bought it in June, tossed it in my car, where it sloshed around in the bottle during the 1,000 mile trip back to Atlanta.
Once here, it went into my beer cabinet (sort of like a wine cabinet, but filled with beer instead), then into my DBR (Dedicated Beer Refrigerator), and finally tonight into my glass. So, how did the beer through this?
Long Trail Brewmaster Series Double IPA pours to a hazy yellow-orange color with a thick creamy head formation and a bright citrus hop nose. A thin film of Brussels lace coats the sides of my glass and follows the liquid down to the bottom of the glass. The palate has a generous amount of chewy caramel that provides a solid backbone for the hops to play against, and a touch of fruit too (pineapple comes to mind).
And those hops are still here in all their glory after a year's time: floral, grapefruity, a tad resiny. They intensify in both aroma and bitterness in the finish, where they add a bitter buzz that combines with the alcohol warmth to really finish with a bang. If you're going to make a double IPA, it should taste something like Long Trail Brewmaster Series Double IPA, I think. The beer has just the right amount of malt combined with a ton of hops, but doesn't turn into a barleywine as some so-called "Double IPAs" do.
I loved this beer, and you will, too. It might not have traveled across the ocean to India, but it did take a lickin' and kept on tickin'. You, of course, don't have to put your bottle through such rigors. Long Trail Brewmaster Series Double IPA is a seasonal specialty that's released in April, and in fact is hitting store shelves again as I type. Don't miss it.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.