Cheap 'Double Bag' strong ale goes best with buds
Issue date: 1/23/09 Section: Arts & Entertainment
In an attempt to accommodate those who have submitted beer requests, this week we'll be checking out another suggested beer.
Recommended by reader Matt, this week's brew is classified under an umbrella style: the American strong ale.
A brew can only be labeled as an American strong ale if it has three "defining" characteristics: it must have an ABV level of 7 percent or above, be American, and be a type of ale - so much for being in that cool, exclusive group.
This style includes many beers far and in-between but generally encompasses a few specific styles: India pale ales, barleywines, winter warmers and old ales.
Although all of these styles are made all over the world, what makes the beer "American" is the ingredients and the quantities they are used in.
For instance, winter warmers brewed in the United States generally contain unique spices and can be slightly bitter or flavorful due to the combination of hops and malt whereas British varieties tend to lack spices as well as hop flavor.
Ultimately, any beer brewed in America that fits the other two descriptions can be marked as an American strong ale, regardless of how it tastes, looks and smells.
Made by Long Trail Brewing Company in Vermont, Long Trail Double Bag cannot be perfectly classified under one style, since it shares qualities to several varieties.
The label of this beer features two cartoon cows minding their own business with a barn in the background. I'm not exactly sure what message the brewers were trying to relay, but I felt that it was really corny.
Poured out, this beer had a musky reddish/gold color with a small amount of head.
There was almost no lace surrounding the glass. Additionally, as I drank it, the head completely disappeared and retained no evidence of it even existing.
At least in regards to these reviews, this is the first beer I've had in a while that has looked really plain and relatively unexciting.
Fortunately, the nose was nicer than the appearance.
The first thing that came to mind was apple cider.