3.7AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 Often I find when it comes to an India Pale Ale the best-tasting ones are those that have a distinct flavor to their palate, such as grapefruit or some citrus-like taste. Souther Tier IPA didn’t seem to have such distinction, but its strong hop character and easy finish more than made up for anything lacking.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
This beer poured very smoothly and formed a slightly smaller-than-average, off-white, foamy head which lingered throughout the life of the drink and left plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma was a strong scent of hops which were so strong I could almost sense the beer’s bitterness in the nose alone.
The first taste of Southern Tier IPA was very interesting. As it first hit my palate I found it to be a standard beer of the sort with a strong hop character and bitter taste, but as it finished I noticed something much sweeter. It’s strange when a beer tastes better as it finishes or in the aftertaste than while it’s actually in your mouth.
What’s also strange is that this citrusy taste was only detectable on my first bottle. The second and third did not seem so unique. They were, however, strong in their hop taste with a dry, bitter taste which is typical of an IPA. At times the flavor seemed to approach the rich, super-sweet, syrup-like taste many stronger beers (and especially “imperial” beers) possess, but thankfully it never went overboard. I just wish the tart, grapefruit-like taste of the first bottle had been consistent. Either way, it was still strong in taste.
No matter how many IPAs I’ve had, it never ceases to amaze me how relatively easy they are to drink compare to mass-market lagers which mainstream drinkers find to be “bitter.” Southern Tier goes down smooth and has a surprisingly south mouthfeel considering its bitter palate.
I wonder if it might not be redundant of me to point out how full in body this beer is, since beers in the India Pale Ale style are supposed to be hefty. At 6.5% ABV, Southern Tier is a beer that definitely makes its presence known, but more in its weight rather than its potency. After just one bottle I felt content and after two I was more than satisfied, and my third made me feel quite bloated. Oddly, I never felt very buzzed.
I hate to use the word “generic” because it seems to imply a lack of quality or creativity, but in the case of Southern Tier India Pale Ale, describing it as a generic IPA is quite accurate. It has all the makings of a quality beer of the style in that it’s strongly-hopped, smooth and potent. I would have preferred something even tastier, but I’m not complaining.