michael-pollack (4960) - King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 6, 2010
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12oz. Bottle: Pungent aroma of hops, grass, resin, pine, and slight grapefruit.
Poured yellow/gold in color with a small, off-white head that diminished but lasted throughout. Clear. Sparkling. Excellent lacing. Flavor is slightly sweet and medium bitter. Tastes of hops, grass, pine, slight malt, light resin, and hints of citrus and tangerine. Light to medium body. Lightly dry texture. Average carbonation. Hops, grass, pine, and resin finish is dry. Better than I had expected.
Butters (3725) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - JUL 3, 2010
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
12oz bottle. Batch 212. Clear applejuice pour with almost no clear head. Nose is sweet apples. Flavor is spicy hop bitterness, and some citrusy, small woodsy notes. Nice refreshing and fairly crisp on the palate with a medium chewy body. Long lasting drying hop finish. Not bad at all, but it definitely tastes better than it smells.
williamstome (818) - Somerville, Massachusetts, USA - JUN 30, 2010
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
This beer pours goldish orange and has a grassy aroma with some grapefruit. The flavor is grasy as well with a bit of hops and some estery notes. The beer is crisp yet smooth, with a bitter finish.
Drake (8030) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - JUN 29, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12 ounce bottle from Market Street Wine Shop Downtown Charlottesville, VA. The commercial description says this is only available in a mixed pack so I guess Iím lucky to find it singled out. Pours a pale clear yellow color with a medium creamy white head. Good head retention and lacing. Aroma of resiny hops with a good bit of toasty toffeeish malts. The taste is earthy and slightly citrus hops with caramel malts. Medium bodied. Decent beer. 5/16/10.
Chad9976 (1126) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 27, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Paul Cain, head brewer for Southern Tier, at the 2010 TAP New York Craft Beer & Food Festival who told me "Pale" is his current favorite beer of his own. I thought it was a little strange that a generic style like pale ale would be a brewerís favorite. Pale is a beer that takes the American pale ale style and puts an entirely new spin on it. You get the fundamentals of the style, but they are amped-up with flavors usually reserved for the pale aleís bigger brother, the IPA. In other words, itís a beer with the taste of something bigger, but with the body of something smaller. Now that Iíve had a chance to try Pale for myself I can see why Paul might say that.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into an English pint glass. Having poured three separate bottles into three different glasses I was quite shocked by the gigantic head produced by this beer. Itís something you might encounter from a German hefeweizen or any kind of Belgian bottle-conditioned beer.
Perhaps the beer is bottle-conditioned since it gives me the "lava lamp effect" of what appears to be unfiltered yeast swirling in the otherwise cloudy body. Once mixed, Pale has an appearance similar to an IPA with a bright orange color and a thick, frothy head. Not surprisingly, it leaves generous lacing on the glass and lasts beyond the last drop.
The aroma is along the lines of an India Pale Ale with a predominately citrus aroma. Itís not quite as strong as some West Coast IPAs Iíve tried, but it is very inviting like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.
My reaction upon taking my first swig of Pale was, "Are you sure this isnít an IPA?" Much like the aroma, Pale has a noticeable citrus flavor which is both tart and sweet. As it crosses my palate I get a candy-like sweetness akin to Sweet Tarts or Sprees. It finishes with a strong hop bitterness which seems to intensify if only for a second before dissipating. The hops donít seem to linger, although the candy sweetness does.
I think what separates Pale from a flat-out IPA is the fact the palette is a little muted, comparatively speaking. Southern Tierís website claims itís made with two types of malts and two types of hops, so itís not quite as complex as an IPA. The citrus flavor combined with the sweetness makes Pale quite refreshing.
The only caveat to this beer is a slightly sour tang in the aftertaste. Itís only noticeable for a moment and seems to fade away as I drink. Still, itís enough to prevent this beer from scoring an even higher grade.
I always encourage new drinkers to try the pale ale style since most beers of the type have everything a beer should be: hop bitterness and malty sweetness. However, in the case of Southern Tier Pale Iíd say itís more a beer for hopheads. The bitterness here is rather unrelenting, making for a peppery mouthfeel. It goes down smooth, but itís not a beer you can slug down if you donít have a taste for it.
At 6% ABV, itís a little bigger in body than your average American pale ale. It would pair nicely with a meal, especially in a summer setting, but might be a bit too hefty for sessioning.
I always love trying beers that can put new spins on otherwise tired styles, and Southern Tier Pale is a great example of this. Itís rare a beer this robust can fall under the pale ale style, but because itís so tasty and drinkable Iíd say it mightíve just raised the bar for everyone else.
NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at:
yesyouam (1016) - Fairport, New York, USA - JUN 27, 2010
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Southern Tier Pale Ale is a crystal clear, sparkling golden ale with a small white head that diminishes to leave pretty nice lacing. It has a bright, bold citrus aroma with notes of grain and flowers. It smells perhaps a touch sweet. It has a smooth and creamy, yet lively, medium body with a very light, dry, pristine finish. It has a very simple hoppy flavor of pine resin and grapefruit rind. The finish leans toward black pepper. Itís very simple and drinkable; quite refreshing.
uhre (384) - DENMARK - JUN 25, 2010
2.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 1/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Aroma of hops and grass the same with the flavor good for a pale ale. Pale and could need some wheat to improve the head.
ndon (857) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - JUN 24, 2010
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
citrusy hop aroma with a hint of pine, backed by a toffee malt with a slightly bitter finish
willblake (2645) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - JUN 23, 2010
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
20100623 12oz bottle from Wine World. Medium gold with lingering, small white head. Aroma is grainy, breakfast cereal, biscuit, apple, garlic, pine. Light bodied without much sweetness to speak of, mild astringent graininess, lingering pithy bitterness. Nothing too exciting or polished, but a decent enough hoppy pale for summer.
Derek881 (996) - St. Petersburg, Florida, USA - JUN 22, 2010
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured from the bottle into a pint glass to drink. The beer was a very clear gold color with the slightest hint of amber, and a big, foamy white head that had good retention and slight cling; very few bubbles int he body, which was quite transparent. A powerful and pleasing grassy and grainy aroma with some herbs and spices, and a bit of malt. The flavor has a pleasant grainy, bitter taste with a bit of sourness too, and maybe a touch of citrus. The body is light-to-moderate carbonation, but good fizz, with a full, dry mouthfeel. Definitely a very taste pale ale.