3.9AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Craft beer drinkers tend to think of bigger beers as being mostly for special occasions, but why not everyday drinking? That seems to be the logic behind Southern Tier’s 2XIPA, a cleverly-named double India Pale Ale. Although it would seem to be a hefty beer considering its name and the fact it’s 8.3% ABV, it drinks like something half its size.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tumbler. This is one of the clearest double IPAs I’ve ever seen. A fairly bright flame color with a little hop haze. It produces a decent-sized, white, foamy head that leaves plenty of lacing and sticks around ’til the end.
The aroma is one of the best things about this beer. It’s much in the style of a West Coast brew with peach, tangerine, grapefruit and other citrusy notes. Plus there’s a strong floral scent often found in beers from the east, with something of a sweet perfume-like smell too. It’s very enticing just from the nose alone.
Although the aroma and potency would lead you to believe 2XIPA is going to be a hop monster, one swig indicates it is much more of a friendly brew. The fruit juice-like aroma carries over to the palate with notes of citrus and liquid flowers. The taste is immediately bitter and hoppy as you’d expect from a beer of this style, but without excess energy. It finishes with a tea leaf-like flavor which is earthy and grassy, but surprisingly sweet.
There’s a candy-like tartness to be found here as well. Southern Tier did a great job in deliberately balancing this brew with three types of malts to give it more body. Of course, the four varieties of hops used are still the star of the show giving the beer an underlying state of bitterness from start to finish. There’s a dry sensation that accompanies it, but not to the point of being obnoxious. It’s surprising this beer isn’t more robust than it actually is, but it’s still tasty and enjoyable.
What’s probably most impressive about Southern Tier 2XIPA is just how palatable it is. The mouthfeel is perfectly medium: not syrupy thick; not watery thin. And while the palate has definite energy, it is not very intense in the mouth and leaves only a minor drying sensation. In fact, I might even say this is rather refreshing for a double IPA when drank cold.
The fact this weighs in at 8.3% ABV makes it dangerously drinkable. It’s the kind of beer you can drink very quickly and in large quantities before the alcohol makes its presence known. A great beer to have with dinner or even to "session" a couple bottles over a little while.
While not the best double IPA out there, Southern Tier 2XIPA is one of the best values on the craft beer market. It drinks like a much smaller beer than it is and is sold in six-packs (instead of four-packs) for only about $10. It’s a great introductory beer for those looking to get into bigger and bolder styles without being hit with a hop sledgehammer.