Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York, has grown to produce more than 100,000 barrels of beer annually. The hand crafted ales are now available in more than thirty States and points beyond.
Founders Phineas DeMink and Allen “Skip” Yahn started the brewery [in 2002] with the vision of reviving the practice of small batch brewing to a region rich in brewing tradition.
This was a tasting at Growler & Gill, followed by extensive testing/tasting at home to confirm and extend my research. Have I mentioned lately that research is the best part of writing this blog?
A soft start to the tasting, I couldn’t pick up the tangerine, though at least one taster said he did. Without the tangerine it came across as a bland IPA. It was the first offering of the evening so my taste buds weren’t masked by anything else. Pours orange straw with a very brief light head. On the next try I got a fruit nose, not necessarily tangerine, but this time I had just eaten fruit tart. Citrus hops in the nose, to be sure. The flavor was quite bitter, perhaps in contrast to the tart, but plenty of crackery malt and citrus hops. The aroma needs a wide mouth glass and volume; it doesn’t work in small portions. The finish is fairly mild, citrusy, and not very bitter; the hops hit hardest in the flavor. 4.6% ABV
This saison is really good rich farmhouse stuff, described as “Belgian Style Super Saison, Ale Brewed with Lemongrass.” The beer is pale gold with a bright white foamy head. It has a yeasty funky nose with lots of malt and spice, almost white pepper. Bottle conditioning gives it a rich foamy mouthfeel, and the flavor shows complex spice like spice cake with ginger and pepper. The long finish continues the spicy malt and no hops that I’m aware of. 8.5% ABV
“Bottle Conditioned Sparkling Ale Brewed with Rose Hips” Pale amber in the glass with a very generous foamy head. Delicious citrus hops hit as soon as the cap comes off. Tangerine and sweet malt aroma with a floral cast and a little note of bread flour. The flavor starts with honeyed malt and lots of hops, now a bit more herbal but then fruitiness comes in, more like apricot than citrus. Hops play with malt on the quiet finish with only moderate bitterness. Very easy drinking which could lead to trouble at 9.0% ABV
A double IPA, this pours with a generous ivory head over amber. The aroma is rich with molasses, malt and strong piney hops with an herbal character. The flavor delivers Belgian-like yeastiness and fruit, an apricot note, lots of hops and a hint of spice. The finish emphasizes more piney hops, a solid shot. The last time I tasted this I wrote “Unearthly, maybe; unbalanced, definitely . . . and intended to be.” 9.5% ABV
Pours black, no more, no less, with a chocolate milk head. The aroma and flavor have intense dark chocolate with lots of orange peel, mouth filling and mouth coating. This is not to my taste but I would think it would be excellent if you liked fruit with your dark chocolate…and likewise if you poured this over vanilla ice cream. RateBeer gives this a score of 100. 10.0% ABV
At home I decided on Quadrupel IPA — not in style but rather four IPA varieties — to focus on one of their greatest strengths. They write “At the Southern Tier Brewing Company, vigorously hopped beer is our standard and inspiration.” No argument here!
This is a session IPA, orange-amber in the glass with a bubbly yellowish head. The nose is of complex hops, floral and herbal with light citrus and pine. The mouthfeel is light and foamy, the flavor is of medium bready malt with hops all around and a hint of fruit. The finish focuses on the hops settling into earthy bitterness. Light alcohol, unlight hops. 4.5% ABV
I’ll call this a flagship, setting the IPA standard at a high level. It’s another orange-amber beer with a brief bubbly head. There’s no surprise that the aroma is hop-forward, similar to Right-O-Way but even richer in hops and certainly maltier. There’s an earthiness, strong and hoppy, with something like tea in the flavor. The mouthfeel is rich, and the beer finishes up with quite strong resiny hoppiness–and tea. This seems like a heavy hitter after the session IPA, making me look forward even more to the doubles. 7.3% ABV
Here’s a double IPA, slightly hazy pale gold with an off white head which lingers. It’s another rich mix of hops (4 kinds)where nothing sticks out of the melange, earthy with maybe a little resin over a bread malt backbone (3 kinds of malt). There are more earthy hops and malt on the palette with a medium mouthfeel rather refreshing. Thorough hop bitterness–now more piney–settles in. As the beer warms, some caramel notes enter the flavor and linger into the finish. 8.2% ABV
Single hop, single malt, double IPA. This has the same color as 2XIPA but a bigger light yellow head. The clean hop profile tends toward the crispness of a European hop like Fuggles rather than the citrus or pine of the New World. The malt undertone is similar to 2XIPA but simpler. The flavor is much like the aroma but the caramel touch arrives sooner than in the 2XIPA. It has a very smooth finish, well balanced between hop and malt. I’ll state a minor complaint that the bottle doesn’t say WHICH one hop and one malt are used. Last time I knew it was Mosaic. Maybe they change recipes but not labels. Ah, the website says “Equinox hops and Superior Pale malt” so there’s my answer, and undoubtedly it’s easier to change website text than label text! 8.1% ABV