Posts Tagged With: Southern Tier

January Mix & Match

I’ve been neglecting the blog–but not the beer drinking–so I have a lot of catching up to do. We’ll start with a couple of European pilsners, continue with three IPAs and an APA, a Scotch Ale, a Barleywine, and conclude with a Hot Chocolate Stout.

RothausRothaus Pils Tannenzäpfle

The Rothaus Pils Tannenzäpfle has existed since 1956—so for almost 60 years. Its unusual name is embodied on the labels of the 0.33 l bottles. Just as today, the original Tannenzäpfle labels depicted spruce-fir branches accompanied by pinecones. These pinecones are what gave this beer its name.

From Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus, this pours a very clear straw, and the malty nose has a hint of sour. On the palette it’s crisp, dry and pure. This is what Milwaukee pretends to be, this is canonical Pilsner with no adjuncts. Absolutely perfect for a hot summer day and pretty damned good in the depths of winter. Gentle malty finish. Would be terrific with shellfish or to freshen the palette after heavier fare. 5.1% ABV, 32 IBU

Mikkeller Imperial Pilsner

This went into the glass with no head, unusual for a pilsner, cloudy light amber. The nose is of caramel malt poured in a bakery. On the palette I get a medium body with fruity caramel hinting at cinnamon raisin. . This gradually wraps itself in hops, still with hints of caramel and bread. It’s a nice twist on the traditional pilsner, more full and less crisp. 8.0% ABV

21st BFOD21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA

Light amber to dark straw in the glass with a generous persistent head. There are lovely citrusy hops apparent from a foot away while pouring, then there’s a sweetness to the aroma. On the palate comes a creamy mouthfeel with lots of hops over a malt backbone. The finish is restrained with some piney notes coming in over the citrus. Very sippable and the 7% ABV could sneak up under the guise of a session IPA. 70 IBU, but surprisingly balanced for that level of hops.

MidnightSun sockeyeMidnight Sun Sockeye Red IPA

Pours chestnut amber with a generous light tan head. Starts with an herbaceous hop nose with underlying malt. The mouthfeel is effervescent and the flavor delivers earthy malt and hops. The finish is creamy with gentle hops. . . which slowly intensify on very long finish. 5.7% ABV, 70 IBU

ElysianSpaceDustElysian Space Dust IPA

This pours a light amber, or hazy gold with the light behind it. The brief light head then laces the glass. Gives a strong herbal hop nose, turning to citrusy hops on the palette with firm malt and light effervescence. This swiftly moves into a bitter herbal lingering finish. As the beer warms the mouthfeel grows stronger as does a hop candy flavor, and everything gets smoother. AB-InBev has not harmed this, at least not yet. 8.2% ABV 73 IBU

stPMXSouthern Tier PMX

Renamed to Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale, in the glass this APA is light amber with a brief white head. Malt and yeast come on the nose with a hint of honey and maybe stone fruit. The flavor is Belgian-like, similar to a saison, emphasizing yeast over malt and bypassing hops. The mouth feel is mildly fizzy. The finish is subtle, alternating malt with a slight sour tang. 5.7% ABV, 37 IBU

OldChubOskar Blues Old Chub Nitro Scotch Ale

A beautiful light tan head builds over a coffee-dark glass. The nose has a sort of plum character, a hint of sour, then stronger hints build of toffee and coffee. Silky smooth and creamy on the palate, again with a hint of sour, with a pleasant malt background, ending with a dry hop note, after which the original sour plum creeps in. To me, it’s more like a Guinness-style stout, or at least a porter, than an ale. Then again, I suppose a Yorkshire Ale like Old Peculier has a similar character with less head (which requires the widget to dispense the nitrogen). Nice stuff. 8.0% ABV

Cricket Hill Reserve Ale No. 3 Barleywine

Pours dark amber with a one-inch light tan head. Starts with a nice roasted barley and yeast nose, then toffee with a hint of chocolate and a tiny bit of fruit. On the palate, chocolate and molasses come with a slightly sour edge on the first sip, but any sourness disappears on subsequent sips. Long malty finish. 8.5% ABV

FlyingDogMexicanFlying Dog Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout

From their Brewhouse Rarities series, I expected heat though it didn’t say so. No, it’s not hot. This isn’t like, for example, Hot Jala Heim from Horseheads, rather it gives very, very dry bitter chocolate, almost dusty. It pours black with a tan head. Starts with only a tiny bit of chocolate in the aroma, but this increases steadily on nose and palette as the beer warms from fridge temperatures. There is a light bitter finish tinged with the flavor of chilis, making a fine cold weather brew.

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Attack of the Pumpkins! (Part 2)

Continuing my pumpkin odyssey . . .

Pumpkin Flight

Uinta JackedUinta Crooked Line Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin (Salt Lake City, UT)

Pours dark garnet with a generous foamy orangey head. The aroma is of pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie but with a nose-tickling spiciness where the hops hold their own among the mulling spices. This may be the strongest pumpkin flavor of all, kind of a purist’s pumpkin, like a dish of squash with enough spice to accent the meatiness, and with oak coming through. Utah’s heart of oak. On the finish the hops give bracing bitterness and dry out what wasn’t very sweet to begin with. This would go great with a main course like turkey or pork or grilled tofu. 10.31% ABV and in a 750ml bottle that last 0.01% could be a killer! 39 IBU, unusually high bitterness for a pumpkin ale but it works.

Dogfish PumpkinDogfish Head Pumpkin Ale (Milton DE)

Medium amber in the glass with a bubbly vanilla cream head. The nose is biscuit malt first then melon or squash with a dash of spice. The flavor starts with liquor, a fruit brandy, and then a creaminess with a touch of spice and spicy hops. The finish carries this forward with brandy fading and hoppy malt growing. Nice mild sweetness develops as the beer warms a little. Beautifully balanced. This is not an eye opener, this is just calmly excellent. 7% ABV

Alltech Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale (Lexington KY)

Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, aged in bourbon barrels. I was a bit too busy savoring this to take proper notes. Their regular Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale has a great bourbon nose, this adds pumpkin and spices. Very satisfying. 10.0% ABV

Horseheads PumpkinHorseheads Brewing Pumpkin Ale (Horseheads NY)

This is a medium to light amber with a generous orangey head. The aroma is very pie spicy with rich malt just underneath. The flavor is restrained pumpkin pie with cinnamon and nutmeg and spice-cake malt. The finish is moderately long emphasizing malt and slightly dried out by hops. 7.0% ABV

Hoppin Frog Double PumpkinHopping Frog Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale (Akron OH)

This pours amber with a brief tan head. The aroma delivers more spice than pumpkin and unusual spicing with ginger in the mix. The flavor starts wth a toffee note, smooth, with spices coming in, especially clove. The finish is mild, mixing malt and spice. There’s not a whole lot of pumpkin in flavor or finish. It’s a nice strong Fall beer but not especially a pumpkin beer. 8.4% ABV

Saranac PumpkinSaranac Pumpkin Ale (Matt Brewing, Utica, NY)

Clear amber in the glass with a moderate off white head. Starts with a very malty nose with lightly funky melon. Spicy flavor led by cinnamon with a very light body and just a touch of fruit. The finish has a little malt but is a bit bland. 5.1% abv 15 IBU their website calls it “hearty …with full body” but I find it thin and light.

Whole Hog PumpkinWhole Hog Pumpkin Ale (Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, WI)

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut with a moderate yellowish head. The aroma is of liquid pumpkin pie…the whole pie, crust and all. Flavor starts spicy instantly changing to meaty pumpkin, then the spices come right back and meet crackery malt forming a great balance. The finish leans toward darker spice like nutmeg with a shot of bittering hops leading into lingering maltiness. 7.5% ABV, 10 IBU

stPumkingSouthern Tier Pumking (Lakewood, NY)

Light copper in the glass with a brief off cream head. Starts with a big pumpkin aroma more like a pumpkin bread than pie, lots of malt. That bready malt and rich fruit flow into the flavor mixing with the spices and vanilla (almost as if aged in oak.) As it warms a tiny bit of candy-like aroma emerges but is tinged with hops. Very low bitterness but not without a touch of hop flavor too. The finish is long but restrained. Sneaky strong, it doesn’t drink like 8.6% ABV. As it says on the bottle, “This beer is brewed with pagan spirit & should be enjoyed responsibly.”

samFatJackSamuel Adams Fat Jack (Boston, MA)

Brown ale with a medium yellowish head. The nose displays caramel malt with Euro hops and subtle pumpkin or pumpkin & yam. It’s Brown Ale on the palette with toffee and a hint of smoke, sweetness but not sweet. Enough hops and enough roast to be interesting.

stWarlockSouthern Tier Warlock (Lakewood, NY)

Opaque brown in the glass with a fairly brief tan head. Rich pumpkin spice cake nose a bit sweeter aroma than Pumking. Rich and roasty on the palette with coffee notes…have some coffee with your cake. There’s a ton of malt and smooth spices, cinnamon and vanilla and nutmeg over the pumpkin body. The pumpkin isn’t the first or even second thing you notice, but it asserts itself on the finish amid waves of spice, malt, and coffee notes. 10.0% abv

Elysian PunkuccinoElysian Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale (Seattle, WA)

“”A pumpkin ale with the attitude of a world-weary barista.” Very dark brown with light barely coming through it. And a generous relatively persistent tan head. Aroma of coffee the instant the cap comes off. Rich coffee aroma with spice and pumpkin. Flavor of good very smooth coffee without bitterness. Very similar to Warlock with more coffee and slightly less body. In both cases the pumpin is tertiary to the malt or coffee and spices. In both cases these are fabulous beers. Out if season I may be dismissive of pumpkins. Mea culpa. 6.0% ABV

I was dismissive of pumpkin ales out of season, and even felt dismissive of their worth even in season. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I’ve really enjoyed my journey through the pumpkin patch, and I look forward to coming back next year!

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Southern Tier: From Tangier to India (Pale)

Southern Tier

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?

Tangier

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

stSonnetLabelCrop_02Sonnet Saison

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

stCompassCompass

“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

stUnearthlyUnearthly

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

Choklat Oranj

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

stIPAs

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!

stRightOfWay-labelCrop_02Right-O-Way IPA

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

stIPAIPA

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

st2XIPA2XIPA

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

st2XONE2XONE

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

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