Saturday, September 13, 2008

Long Trail Harvest Ale

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 17, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 29, 2012 I often find myself reviewing beers that I can’t find flaws in, and yet I can’t bring myself to rate them as outstanding, best-of-the-best, five-star brews. Such is the case of Long Trail Harvest – a great American take on the traditional English brown ale style. It’s tasty, smooth and medium-bodied. I think there are just one or two details keeping it from being true greatness, but I’m not sure what they are.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

There’s a reason they’re called brown ales, because they pour to a perfect shade of brown, although in the case of Harvest I’d call it more of a bronze/maroon color. The body is crystal clear and has notable carbonation. A good amount of off-white, soapy head forms upon pouring and never completely dissipates throughout the life of the drink.

There isn’t much of an aroma to speak of; brown ales aren’t known for being potent in the nose. It does hint at being a malt-based beer but isn’t overwhelming. At least there’s no generic “beer smell” whatsoever.

TASTE

I often find that the greatest brown ales have a very sweet taste not unlike cola. It’s hard to find a beer that is rooted in its malts without tasting like cough syrup, but Long Trail Harvest gets the flavor down pat.

Upon initial taste I was reminded of Newcastle Brown Ale, but its palate is not as strong. The flavor is caramel-like and quite sweet but without being gimmicky. This is the kind of taste I look for in a beer.

FINISH

Probably another reason I like brown ales so much is their easy finish. Long Trail Harvest drinks as if it were water. It’s hard to find a beer with such genuine flavor and craftsmanship that finishes so smooth.

BODY

I’ll bet this beer would scare off a lot of lightweights because of its dark complexion. Usually dark beers have too strong of a taste and too heavy of a weight for the casual drinker. Long Trail Harvest not only is smooth as silk, but its weight is surprisingly light.

I was not able to find out the number of calories per serving, but at only 4.4% ABV it’s not the kind of beer that’s going to bog you down.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s actually a shame Long Trail Harvest is only a seasonal beer because it’s good enough to warrant year-round consumption. You owe it to yourself to try it while you have the chance. 
Grade: 7/10