Thursday, October 22, 2015

Long Trail SMASH Project #1: Pilsner Malt/Galaxy Hops

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20Chad9976 (1481) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 22, 2015
Making a beer with a single malt and single hop (a.k.a. “SMASH”) is something homebrewers tend to dabble in, but when commercial brewers do it the results can be hit or miss. But in the case of Long Trail SMASH Project #1: Pilsner Malt/Galaxy Hops the result is definitely hit. I’m not sure which style this could be considered – probably pale ale or even IPA – but it goes to show there’s no reason to get hung up on styles when the beer tastes and drinks as well as this does. 


I poured a 12oz can into a flared snifter. There was no freshness date and it cost $3.40 ($0.28 per ounce).

Appearance: Fairly bright amber-hued color, though body is rather cloudy with some sediment visible. Pours to a two-finger, brilliant white, frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Plenty of Galaxy hop presence here: some tropical fruit (especially pineapple), but also a grassy/spicy/herbal aroma as well.

Taste: Pilsner malt is a great base malt to use for a lot of beer styles, though I don’t find it offers a lot as far as distinct flavor goes. If you’ve ever had a lager ever you’re familiar with the taste. Not surprisingly, it’s the Galaxy hops that are the star of the show. Strong fruity flavor up front with an interesting combination of fruit cocktail and spice rack character on the finish. It’s impressive how well these flavors both complement and contrast without being tacky. Pineapple, lemon and peach emerge at first while very light garlic and oregano bring up the rear. On the finish I get a touch of vanilla sweetness, interestingly enough. It’s probably from the alcohol, though it’s in no way distracting. There’s significant bitterness to be sure, and I’m actually surprised this is only 40 IBUs as it drinks like a typical IPA.

Drinkability: I was a bit surprised to see the 6.8% ABV on the label, since single-malt brews don’t tend to be overtly strong. And while I wouldn’t consider Long Trail SMASH Project #1: Pilsner Malt/Galaxy Hops a “strong” beer per se, it’s definitely got some pep to it. There’s a lot of energy to the body with consistent carbonation, strong flavor and a lingering bitterness from the hops. Alcohol comes through as flavor, but not as warmth. This is a fun beer to drink on its own, but also sturdy enough to stand up to spicy/savory food.

RATING: 9/10