Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Southern Tier 2XSMASH (review)

Beer Review #86

For the 6th time this month I'm cozening up to a Southern Tier Brewing Company beer (facebook). This Lakewood NY based company puts a ton of product on the shelves here in Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club territory. I picked up this one - 2XSMASH - on the shelves at Waverly Discount Beverage. Not my normal go-to location for craft beer, their selection is limited. That said, the prices are also very reasonable, so its worth stopping in.

When I first started getting into craft a short time ago, Southern Tier IPA (Review #7) and 2XIPA (Review #10) were among the beers that sparked my initial love affair with IPA's. Today I'm checking out 2XSMASH, another entry in the company's ongoing series of single malt/single hop India Pale Ales, which includes 2XONE (Review #23).

Regardless of taste, the concept of the single malt/single hop beer series is something I absolutely adore. If I can use a music analogy - single malt/single hop is to beer what punk was to classic rock or what grunge was to hair metal, a conscious effort to strip back the decadence, push reset on the scene, and momentarily get back to the roots. In a time of explosive growth in the American craft beer scene, the majority of brewers seek to differentiate themselves from the pack by adding ingredients. Don't get me wrong, I love that side of beer (and music) the most. But at the same time, the concept of the single malt/single hop IPA is very attractive to me. As a young drinker trying to better understand craft beer, single malt/single hop beer allows me to smell and taste the ingredients as they are, without a lot of background noise. I find that quite refreshing.

The malt/hop combination in 2XSMASH is Mosaic hops and Special Pale malt. Through the magic of brewing they combine and pour a deep golden orange with a two finger head of soapy white foam. The foam dissipates, but clings to the glass and leaves a thin skim on the surface of the beer.

The aroma is absolutely awesome, bright and fresh, in the way that all of my favorite India Pale Ales are (Hop Hunter - Review #20, Weyerbacher Double IPA #1 - Review #63) In this case we're talking about big tropical notes; grapefruit with sugar, a bit of mango and just a hint of malt.

The flavor is beautifully bitter, and the carbonation works to enhance that bite. Look for tropical fruit and  citrus from the aroma to carry over, but also some peach, pineapple,  and a substantial backside dank pine bitterness. Spend the afternoon sipping and expect some raw honey to develop as the beer warms.

If I may interject some opinion here, i'm surprised by how good this is. Some beers use a half dozen kinds of malts and hops, this beer uses one of each - and yet does not lack for flavor and complexity. It really makes you wonder if piling on the ingredients, as many great beers do, really yields the results we think it does.


Musical Pairing: Rainbow in the Dark by Dio, co-writer Jimmy Bain. RIP

   Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club (Sayre)
The Jolly Farmer, Waverly (Waverly)
Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
River Barge Brewing (Wyalusing)
- Waverly Discount Beverage (Waverly)
- Soprano's Italian Market (Waverly)
- The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)

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