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Long Ireland Pumpkin Ale

September 26, 2012

In the interest of full disclosure, this is a beer that I serve in my restaurant: Nocturne.

Long Ireland is a beer company that has been steadily growing over the past several years. Like many breweries, Long Ireland grew out of some home brew shenanigans between two good friends. As they continued to brew, and buy more equipment, the “joke,” of opening a brewery became less and less funny, and more and more of a serious idea. While their website still implies that they’re brewing out of facilities in Connecticut, I know that they now have a substantial brewery and tasting room on Main Street in Riverhead, New York. While I have yet to make the journey out there, I’ve heard many an interesting tale about their tasting room. Namely that in addition to their fine brews, the lads over at Long Ireland are also fond of pickleback shots.

I recently got to try their Pumpkin Ale, and based on the strength of it I ended up ordering a few kegs for my restaurant.

The beer itself pours a crystal clear orange-red color, with a nice white head. While the majority of the foam on the head might dissipate quickly, there is a trace of the head that lingers, lacing the glass in a beautiful fashion. The beer comes to your nose with a beautiful mixture of vanilla, fall spices, and a light hint of oak.

The brew had a nice mid-sized body that possessed a solid heft when it went down my gullet but still remained smooth in my mouth. The beer hits you with a strong pumpkin flavor. Sadly, this pumpkin flavor may have a tendency to overpower the tastes of vanilla and spices that are present in the beer. If you let the beer linger on your tongue between sips, the pumpkin subsides and the other flavors do come through.

I can say that at the restaurant the best way we’ve found to counteract this flavor imbalance is to rim the glass in cinnamon-sugar. Not necessarily the easiest for a bar to do, but restaurants should consider it, and if you’ve built yourself a nice home bar it shouldn’t be too far out of your reach.

At the end of the day, it’s a solid pumpkin ale that’s definitely worth drinking.

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