The ever evolving tastes of American craft beer consumers presents a challenge for older breweries who need to balance brewing the beer that made them popular with making new and exciting brews. This is especially tough with IPA, the most popular type of craft beer but also a style that has evolved significantly over the years. The original English style was full bodied with a large dose of bitter and earthy Old world hops. Many early American craft brewers were inspired by traditional English styles and brewed their IPAs in this fashion. This started to change when a few breweries on the US West coast produced IPAs that highlighted the fruitier flavor and aroma of new hop strains grown in the Pacific Northwest. These West coast IPAs used extensive hop additions late in the boil and during fermentation to give the big hop flavor and smell that has come to define this style. Now many breweries that started brewing English style IPAs years ago are left with a choice to brew their classic beer or change with the times. Long Trail has decided to keep brewing their classic Long Trail IPA and also start brewing a new West Coast style IPA called Limbo. Limbo is brewed year round and sold on draft and in 12 oz. bottles.
Long Trail Limbo pours a deep amber, slightly hazy with a mild white head. The smell is a huge burst of American hops, tons of citrus and tropical fruit with a little pine. The taste is hops, hops and more hops. Grapefruit, mango, papaya, orange, lemon, with just a little floral and earthy flavor. Basically everything you love about New World hop varieties! There is enough malt to provide a little balance, but this is clearly a hop-bomb West coast style IPA. Limbo is solidly bitter but not tongue-numbing. The beer is medium bodied and drinkable, you don’t taste the 7.6% ABV at all. The finish is crisp with a pleasant bitterness on the tongue. This beer is delicious, it could hold its own against many of the higher priced, hard to find IPAs that people drive hours to wait in line to buy. I’d much rather grab some Limbo at the local beer store and I suggest you do too! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Long Trail reviews: