Libation Review: Ballast Point Longfin Lager

  • Longfin12 oz. can (poured into glass)
  • ~$8.99/six-pack

Background

It won’t be a stretch to say that Ballast Point has become my favorite craft beer maker in the last couple months. I think it started with the Calm Before the Storm, but has continued on through Sea Rose, Victory at Sea, and today’s review subject: Longfin Lager.

Ballast Point’s website calls Longfin a “class German-style beer” before further adding:

A solidly balanced Helles that finishes clean with a hint of hops, it would easily fit in at any German beer garden. But we think it’s perfect for enjoying on the beach, the boat or anywhere else you can put an ice chest full of beer.

Longfin weighs it at 4.5% ABV and only 17 IBUs (International Bitterness Units for the beer-ignorant…which is still me for the most part…I’m learning). It has won gold medals 6 different times and is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles, 12 oz. cans, and on tap. I bought my at Food City, a local grocery store.

Notes

The first time I poured a glass of Longfin Lager, I thought I had made a mistake. Honestly, it’s a very pale yellow/amber color that made me think of Corona or some other mass market beer. I know…craft beer comes tons of variations…but it’s not often I’ve seen one as pale as this.

The nose of the beer was lightly citrusy and hoppy and when I took a sip, I got mostly the same, although this citrus was more on the sweet side rather than the somewhat bitter grapefruit notes I get from Ballast Point’s hoppier beers, like Sculpin. The finish is clean and light, mainly begging it to be paired with a lighter cigar…but I didn’t.

I had already smoked a mild Connecticut Shade stick the day I reviewed this and was in the mood for something a little stronger. This time I opted for the FSG, by Drew Estate, a cigar that I have had a few times before and remember for being medium, maybe medium-plus.

By itself, the FSG had sweet chocolate notes with a little earth and pepper spice. The beer added some lemony sweetness to the finish and held up pretty well to the cigar.

I like the Longfin Lager a lot. My official recommendation for pairing a cigar with it is to go with something milder like a Davidoff Short Perfecto or a Tatuaje Négociant No. 4, but it still pairs decently well with medium-bodied cigars, as well.

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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