I poured a 22oz bottle into an official Southern Tier goblet. It was bottled on 5/6/13 and cost $7.99 ($0.36 per ounce).
Appearance: Bright pale yellow hue. Mostly clear but with significant
haze. Forms a large, bright white, soapy head that mostly dissipates but
does leave some lacing on the glass.
Smell: A sweet aroma of bright, clean citrus, especially orange and lemon.
Taste: One of downsides to constantly reviewing beer is that they become
repetitive after a while. I always appreciate the unique and unusual
brews even if they don’t blow my mind. Southern Tier Compass is a
perfect example, as it’s reminiscent of a San Diego double IPA, but the
inclusion of rose hips makes it noticeably spicy and herbal.
The palette opens with light sweetness, almost candy-like in nature. It
reminds me of Sprees or Smarties or even Fruity Pebbles cereal. I taste
some orange juice flavor as well. There’s a dry bitterness that grows
quite quickly through the middle and then becomes extremely sharp at the
apex of the swig. As it’s going down, the rose hips make themselves
known. It’s a slightly odd taste, since it’s bitter like hops, but with a
kind of herbal character hops don’t produce. This flavor threw me off
at first, but after a short while I grew to like it and appreciate how
well it blends with citrusy Centennial hop character. There’s a
lingering taste of orange juice combined with a perfume-like flavor. It
took me a bit to become accustomed to this palette, but once I did I
really appreciated its originality and found the taste to be pretty darn
Drinkability: The label describes the beer as a bottle-conditioned
sparking ale, which is a nice way of saying highly effervescent. Indeed,
there is champagne-like bubbles here, but the beer itself is
comfortable in the mouth and easy to get down for the most part. Though
technically a beefy brew at 9% ABV, Southern Tier Compass feels like a
lighter beer since its body and mouthfeel are disproportionately thin. I
had no trouble drinking the entire bottle relatively quickly.