Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Southern Tier Farmer’s Tan Session IPA

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1110) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 11, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 3/18/14 and cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful glowing light orange/dark gold hue. Slightly cloudy, but most clear with slow carbonation visible. Pours to a large, bright white, foamy head which laces and retains rather well.

Smell: Clean scent of citrus and bubblegum.

Taste: Southern Tier used to make an imperial pilsner called “Farmer’s Tan,” but they’ve completely re-invented the beer for the newly emerging so-called “session IPA” style. They have nothing in common except for the name (odd that they chose to recycle the name, though). Like most beers of the genre, this one is essentially a light American-style pale ale with a stronger hop character. It’s simple and direct with mostly enjoyable taste, but better appreciated for its drinkability than its palette.

Up front there’s a light, sweet malt presence. The initial taste is akin to honey or lemon cough drops. The bitterness is mild at first, but quickly emerges on the descent with a strong drying sensation. Perhaps a little peppery like a saison, which is weird because it’s not especially flavorful as far as the hops go. The brewery’s website doesn’t indicate which hops are used, only that there’s two varieties (Magnum and Centennial maybe).The palette finishes as it begins - which is satisfying - but not all that impressive.

Drinkability: Making a hoppy beer refreshing would seem to be a contradiction, though Southern Tier Farmer’s Tan Session IPA does come awfully close. The lightly sweet base palette is drinker-friendly, though I think the beer is a little too bitter for its own good. The hops linger and leave a dry, starchy aftertaste. At 4.6% ABV it has the light, crisp body you’d expect and is definitely sessionable in the summer, especially with food to offset the bitterness. Odd that they chose to bottle-condition this, though. 
Grade: 6/10