Trail Point is, dare I say, on the right path.
Walking into the brewery for my first time I immediately, genuinely, feel at home. From the driftwood tap handles to the outdoor patio, to the high ceilings and the tucked away dart board, the whole place had a vibe that encouraged the act of sitting for hours with friends and passing the time with beer and games.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to relax in their beautiful space and try out a few of their brews.
First up? CIPaPotamus, a 6.4% ABV Citra India Pale Ale. Clever name. I’m into it already.
Before me is the epitome of an amber colored beer. A thin ring of a white head sits on the outer edges of the glass. As I lift the snifter up to my nose I’m greeted with melded aromatics of sweet orange peel, toasted grains, a touch of honey, peppery hops, and a soothing floral note. Already intrigued, I bring the glass up to my mouth and take in the soul of the beer. I’m rewarded with tasting notes reminiscent of the aroma — light honey, sweet orange peel, and the comforting flavor of toasted grains.
On my tongue the beer feels balanced, refreshing, and leaves me with a hint of sweetness of honey and malt to soothe the prickling hop bitterness. When lingering in its aftermath I am reminded of the crisp, herbal bitterness I enjoy when sipping a Negroni as an aperitif before a meal.
A Toasted Brunette comes my way next at 5.5% ABV in its Coconut Brown Ale form. Before you ask — yes they did use real coconut. Yes, it was toasted in house and was added in all its beautiful glory into their beer. Yes, this beer is like drinking alcoholic coconut oil dripped onto a piece of bread.
The beer is almost opaque and reminds me of the color a Belgian Dubbel normally takes on. The head is an off white and lingers.
Aromatics are of, you guessed it, toasted coconut. Honestly that is most of the aroma, save for a touch of raisin and a whiff of alcohol heat. Might I say it even reminds me of the fresh scent of wood? Personally, I think it would be absolutely divine if the beer was aged on cedar, because I feel its bouquet would respond so wonderfully to it.
The flavor is encompassed by coconut and the toasted character from the toasting of the coconuts, as well as the grain bill melding together. I wouldn’t say this beer is sweet, but rather lends flavor that would contrast and emphasize sweet foods. I kept thinking of eating a sweet or savory flan while drinking it. The mouthfeel was thinner than I had anticipated but the finish left me with a last burst of coconut and lingering, balancing bitterness to tie it all together.
Henry Lee is up next for me! At 8.9% ABV, this sneakily mid-high alcohol strength Strong Old Ale was a peculiar brew.
It’s perfectly clear with a bone colored head that takes some time to dissipate. The scent is surprisingly subtle and gently grows. Eventually I pick apart earthy hop aromatics, subtle buttered biscuit and overall breadiness, and an interesting dark cherry note. When tasting, the subtlety continues along using the bready malt, a comforting and appropriate bit of diacetyl, and earthy English style hops, leaving a small twinge of hop bitterness at the end.
The mouthfeel is slicker and leaves me with some alcohol heat, though it’s sneaky in a way that if I was tasting this beer blind I would have guessed it to be at about 7% ABV instead of its true 8.9%. A brief sweetness latches to the alcohol warmth and carries into the finish where it all ends up attaching to the friendly diacetyl-like buttered biscuit flavors. The more I drink it, the more I realize it’s almost begging for food. Most of the time I find Old Ales to be great sipping beers on their own but with the more subtle nature of the Henry Lee I feel it deserves a meal.
Last but not least was the Sun Tap’d Summer Wheat Ale that comes in at 4.5% ABV. I’ve never had a wheat beer like this one before. Claimed as an American style wheat, the ale is brewed with torrified wheat, white wheat, and rahr, among other grains. The combination created quite a bizarre beer that I won’t forget.
The brew is clear with a quickly disappearing head. In the aroma I detect strong hop aromatics reminiscent of light onion, and an earthy twig/leafy character. I dig into the tasting and discover a surprising yet not unpleasant burnt non-buttered popcorn flavor, along with the aforementioned hop characteristics. The beer is thinner and drier and grittier than I usually get when drinking a wheat beer. The flavors and aromas of the grain actually remind me of the use of rye in a grain bill and if I had been blind tasting I wouldn’t have guessed this was made with wheat.
I finish it all up in its crisp, refreshing, barely bitter state and announce this whole experience as quite fulfilling.
Well, what’s next? For me, I’ll be coming back in sooner than later to destroy my husband in a game of darts in their taproom, and I’d suggest you all a.) do the same and visit the venue, and b.) attend one of the many beer dinners put on by Trail Point with Patty Matters food truck. I can’t see how that would ever be a poor decision.
Photography: Steph Harding