Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Southern Tier Phin & Matt's Extraordinary Ale


3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (736) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 30, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 I’m a huge fan of the India Pale Ale style, so regular pale ales tend not to impress me much. However, I do appreciate a crisp, tasty beer no matter what the style and that’s certainly true of Southern Tier Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale. It’s a uniquely American take on the classic pale ale style and it works well.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

This beer poured very smooth to a clear, dark gold body with plenty of carbonation and a one-finger, white, soapy head. The aroma was a pleasing scent of pine, citrus and floral notes – all of which are typical of pale ales. I had a feeling I was in for a good beer.

TASTE

A great taste immediately off the first swig is one of my small pleasures in life. Phin & Matt’s won me over very quickly with its strong taste of cascade hops along with some citrus and pine flavors to create for a refreshing, tasty beer. Often, beers of this type are so strongly-hopped they can have a dry or salty palate, but that was not the case here.

In fact, like the other Southern Tier brews I have sampled, I might fault this beer for being just a bit flat. As complex and well-balanced as the taste was, I felt the beer had an underlying watery texture. The average drinker is unlikely to notice this, or if they do they might find it to be less intimidating. Personally, I would prefer something stronger in taste every time, but this is a good compromise.

FINISH

Bitter beers get a bad rap for being difficult to drink, which is simply not true. Phin & Matt’s slightly thin taste, combined with its soft mouthfeel makes it a very drinker-friendly brew. In fact, it’s so tasty and easy to drink I actually had to pace myself to savor it.

BODY
For a beer that is a little above-average at 5.6% ABV, this beer does not drink like something so heavy. I was able to drink three bottles in under 90 minutes without feeling overwhelmed in the least. In fact, I might almost criticize it for not being potent or heavy enough.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s hard for me to name beers that I think would be a truly good starting point for those interested in the craft brewing scene, but Southern Tier Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale would definitely be such a beer. It’s got a good taste that isn’t too strong, an easy finish and a body that’s a lot lighter than you’d expect. There’s something for everyone here.

Grade: 7/10