Pwn3d (1958) - Manhattan, New York, USA - JUL 20, 2010
On tap at the southern tier event with Cara. Pour is light yellow/amber with tons of white lacing. Awesome full flavored pale with astrigent hops, grapefruit. One of my flavor pales ever. A great, strong session ale. ALCOHOLNIZM (165) - WARWICK, Alabama, USA - JUL 17, 2010
WHEN IM RATING A BEER I USAULLY BY A SIX PACK AND SIT AT THE COMPUTER WITH MY LAST ONE TO GET A REAL RATING, SO WITH THIS BREW I HAD THE SAME INTENTIONS, ONLY IT WAS SO GOOD I DRANK THE WHOLE SIX PACK AND NEVER GOT TO THE RATING. SO OFF TO THE STORE AND ONTO MY SECOND SIX PACK NOW DOWN TO MY LAST BEER AND IM READY TO RATE IT. FOR STARTERS WHAT A WONDERFULL PINEY CITRUS AROMA COMES OUT OF THIS GOLDEN SLIGHTLY CLOUDY BEER. WITH A NICE LIGHT CARAMEL NUTTY CITRUS HOPS THIS IS THE PERFECT HOT SUMMER BEER FOR THE IPA LOVERS, NOT HEAVY AND EASLY DRINKABLE AND NO AFTER TASTE YET STILL ENOUGH FLAVOR TO PLEASE ANY BEER HEADS PALATE . SOUTHERN TIER HAS YET TO FAIL ME. robiannelli (599) - West Deptford, New Jersey, USA - JUL 16, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2010 a pale ale that has a descent body and overall flavor. i really enjoy this beer eboats (1115) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - JUL 8, 2010
Big hoppy grapefruit aroma with lots of citrus. Medium bitterness, medium body, thin white head. Poured golden orange. wedgie9 (2703) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - JUL 8, 2010
Tasted from 12oz bottle. Pours pale golden with a very thin white head. Nose of hops, pale malt, and light yeast. Flavor is maltier than expected with bitter hops and yeast on the back. There are also dusty and acidic qualities. Body is light with heavy carbonation and a medium-length bitter finish.
michael-pollack (4959) - King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 6, 2010
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 (4176) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - JUL 3, 2010
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 (1996) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JUN 30, 2010
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 (14078) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUN 29, 2010
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 I’m 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. ChadPolenz (1847) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 27, 2010
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 brewer’s 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 ale’s bigger brother, the IPA. In other words, it’s a beer with the taste of something bigger, but with the body of something smaller. Now that I’ve 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. It’s 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. It’s not quite as strong as some West Coast IPAs I’ve 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 isn’t 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 don’t 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 Tier’s website claims it’s made with two types of malts and two types of hops, so it’s 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. It’s only noticeable for a moment and seems to fade away as I drink. Still, it’s 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 I’d say it’s more a beer for hopheads. The bitterness here is rather unrelenting, making for a peppery mouthfeel. It goes down smooth, but it’s not a beer you can slug down if you don’t have a taste for it.
At 6% ABV, it’s 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. It’s rare a beer this robust can fall under the pale ale style, but because it’s so tasty and drinkable I’d say it might’ve just raised the bar for everyone else.
NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at: