Long Trail Brewing Company
16.2 gallons. That’s the amount of beer per 21+ adult that’s brewed in the state of Vermont each year. This means to make it in Vermont a brewery has to be extra special, and thankfully Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater Corners; Vermont is up to the challenge. Their lineup of beers has grown quite a bit since the original release of Long Trail Ale in 1989, and just like the number of beers offered, their commitment to green brewing practices and environmental stewardship has grown as well.
So what makes Long Trail Brewing Co. so special? To understand that not so simple question you need to look at where they’ve come from by learning a little history. Don’t worry, there won’t be a test later and it’s ok to have a beer while you’re reading.
The Beginning of the Trail
The first batch of Long Trail beer to roll off the line was in 1989. This first batch of beer was brewed on a 45-barrel brewing system that’s dwarfed by its modern equivalent today, but back then this was the perfect system for the fledgling brewers to work with. Known then as the Mountain Brewers and led by founder Andy Pherson, the original goal of the team was to create an American-made alternative to pricy German and English imports.
If there was an official state beer for Vermont, in the early 90’s it would have definitely been Long Trail Ale. The beer became ubiquitous with the state, mostly thanks to their move from the original brewery in the basement of the Old Wooden Mill in Bridgewater Corners to their current home the banks of the Ottauquechee River.
Why the Long Trail?
So where did the name Long Trail come from? Sure, most breweries feel like they’re on a long trail from the time they open, but this isn’t the path Pherson was thinking about when he named the company.
The brewery’s name comes from the actual Long Trail that weaves through New England as well as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. This 272-mile hiking trail snakes through the Green Mountains of Vermont and much like the beer, is something the state is known for throughout the North East US.
No, we’re not talking about the swill that’s served on St. Paddy’s day that glows an unnatural shade of green. This type of green beer is something that’s helping the industry be a leader in the industry.
Long Trail Brewing believes that good beer should be brewed with a focus on the environment as much as the quality of the beer, and with this in mind Long Trail focuses on what’s called ECO Brew. ECO stands for Environmentally Conscious Operations and refers to how the company does business from the sourcing of ingredients to how the spend grain is dealt with.
The spent mash is given to local cattle farmers, the steam is recovered and turned back into water, and even the grease from the brewpub is used as bio diesel for the company tractor!
As with any brewery, the beer is really where it’s at and Long Trail Brewing makes some pretty outstanding brews. From year-round favorites to seasonal treats; there’s a beer for every season and taste, making Long Trail Brewing Co. a true Vermont tradition.
Long Trail Ale
First brewed in 1989, Long Trail Ale was brewed as a domestic replacement for imported beers from England and Germany. Today, Long Trail Ale is their flagship beer, making it a 25-year old gem that much like the actual Long Trail Itself, is a local tradition that will be around for years to come.
Long Trail Ale is an amber-colored beer that comes in at 5% ABV and 28 IBUs. This means it’s easy to drink and not too bitter, making it a great beer for a very wide audience. Expect a nice caramel malt aroma and taste up front with a roasty finish. Great beer for BBQ, hamburgers, and anything else involving the outdoors.
Long Trail VT India Pale Ale
Part of the Brewmasters Series, Long Trail’s IPA first saw its release in 2005. Since then it’s continued to be a great example of a classic style that dates back more than 200 years to England’s colonies in India.
At 6% ABV and 48 IBUs, this beer is hoppy enough for hop heads, and approachable enough for those just starting journey into craft beer. Long Trail IPA is crisp, refreshing, and focuses on a citrus hop profile with biscuitly malt undertones.
Long Trail Double Bag Ale
Originally only offered in the Long Trail Brewing tap room, this double altbier started its life back in 1998, and features two different hop varieties and four different types of malts to give it a complex character that’s still surprisingly easy to drink.
Double Bag comes in at 7.2% ABV and 39 IBUs, which give it enough body to stand up to food pairings like grilled meats while still being great all by itself. Big and malty up front with a nice alcoholic warmness in the back, Double Bag makes for an interesting and rewarding beer every time.
Long Trail Limbo Double IPA
Limbo IPA is a pretty special beer. Limbo is the first year-round seasonal to come out of Long Trail’s Farmhouse Pilot Brewery, and it’s quite the beer at that. This 7.6% ABV India Pale Ale is brewed with a mix of hops from Australia and the Pacific Northwest, giving the beer taste and aroma of pineapple, mango, citrus, and even some piney undertones.
Limbo carries a hefty 80 IBU rating, making it one of the most bitter beers that Long Trail has to offer, and that’s a very good thing. The bitterness plays with the citrus and pineapple character to make a beer that’s hard to put down.
Long Trail Blackberry Wheat
Along with their seasonal lineup, Long Trail has a solid selection of seasonal beers to keep things interesting for every season. While it may not seem like it now, spring and summer aren’t that far away, which is why we’re excited for their Blackberry Wheat ale.
This 4.2% ABV beer puts off a real pie-on-the-windowsill vibe that’s bright, refreshing, and all-around perfect for the warmer months to come.