Vermont is known for more than just great cheese and crafts – as it should be. In Bridgewater Corners Vermont lies the Long Trail Brewery; home to 7 yearly brews and 4 Brewmaster Series exclusives.
The Brewmaster series is composed of limited release beers specially designed by Long Trail’s Brewmaster to be crafted in smaller more experimental batches. This is typical of many craft breweries now in the United States – but I do wish that the best of the limited editions would make it into the regular lineup; as Stone’s Sublimely Self Righteous did.
In front of me is the Long Trail Brewmaster Coffee Stout, a very classy and prominent bottle. The label is clean and very wine like printed on a canvass like paper. I love its style. And I also love coffee stout, so I was excited to try this bottle, which was now about 1 year old.
The capped 650 ml bottle came in at 8.0% abv. It has been brewed with Vermont Coffee Company Dark Roast Fair Trade Organic Coffee Beans. Long Trail recommends serving it between 45 and 50F, so as per the Brewmaster I opened it up cool at 8C (45F) and poured it into two deep snifters.
The pour was very smooth and silky revealing what seemed to be a creamy but relatively thin beer. It built a jet black beer with a nice and dense mocha brown one and a half inch head. Into the light the beer did show deep rich browns and amber reds glowing in it. The head was great – big and pillowy with great retention and creamy soft bubbles streaming through it.
The nose was sweet with dark malt and rich roasted coffee. Caramel and toffee built in lightly as well as bitter fresh hops and a touch of citrus. The coffee is most prominent showing great roast, complimenting the malt perfectly. Soft herbs and maybe even a touch of anise makes its way in the back as well.
Into the beer I go, and as the pour reflected it glides smoothly onto my palate with a silky but somewhat thin body. Not really thin, but not as big as I was expecting. It is still creamy, but more on the silky side. It comes in mimicking the nose with sweet dark malts and big roasted coffee. The star anise (liquorice) notes are slightly more prominent now following soft caramel and toffee malts.
Smoke, roast and hops show big presence everywhere in your mouth and fade to bitter dark chocolate, rounded malts and touches of earth and leather. Overall is it not too powerful, but is quite rich. The coffee is very distinct, and I really like the hint of smoke thats floating around here. The sweet, bitter, roast balance is excellent with a nice west coast style hop finish. Very refreshing for an 8% coffee stout.
The finish was short and dry showing crisp hop zest, roast and hints of sweet dark malt. Overall it was nothing to complex, but very enjoyable. I would have preferred deeper with a bigger more rich body, however my good friend who I was enjoying the beer with thought that it was just perfect. This would be an excellent compliment to cheesecake, chocolate or fruit deserts, as well as roast beef, or most red meat on the BBQ. Think char marks. MMMmmm.