Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Southern Tier 2XIPA (re-review)

Beer Review #101

After reviewing one hundred different beers I thought it would be interesting to begin the next one hundred by doing something I've never done before on briankunkle.com. Ironically that 'new thing' is the act of repeating myself. I thought it might be interesting to go back and reexamine a beer I've already written about in order to see how my own taste and understanding of beer has changed. This experiment is mostly for my own gratification, so I won't bore you with paragraphs of my findings. You can read the original review here, and I encourage you to pick up an old favorite of your own to see if it still excites you. However I'd also like to add that I don't intend to re-review very many beers in the future. Its a great wide world of suds out there with tens of thousands of other beers I'm dying to experience. That said, i may re-review a few beers that develop as they age, as well as some seasonal brews where the recipe is intentionally altered from year to year.

For this experiment I've chosen Southern Tier 2XIPA (Review #10), which also happens to be my initial introduction to the Double/Imperial IPA style I've come to love. Also, so as to avoid any bias, I have deliberately avoided rereading my original review prior to writing this.

Southern Tier Brewing Company has been one of my favorite brewers almost since the beginning. Their distribution prowess and proximity to Pennsylvania means that their product was among the first spotted by my greedy little eyes when I began seeking out alternatives to Bud Light and Coors at local beer distributors. Already readily available, they seem poised to expand further, following the announcement that they have entered into an alliance with Victory Brewing Company, a favorite here in my home state.To date, I've reviewed well over a dozen different STBC beers, and as long as they keep bottling them, I'll keep buying them.

But for today I'm looking back to what was only my second STBC beer. In September 2014, just a few days after tasting their IPA (Review #7), I just knew I had to wrap my lips around a 2XIPA. I remember it as a bitter flavor explosion. But what about now?

Southern Tier 2XIPA pours transparent straw with just a hint of honey-orange crowned by two fingers of soft, soapy white foam that seems content to just chill and hang out with the drinker for awhile.

The aroma blends citrus (grapefruit and a hint of orange) with a woodsy pine note and just a splash of sugary sweetness.

The taste finishes with a strong lingering bitterness, but its not quite one dimensional, although it takes sipping and an honest effort to detect what lies beneath the initial mouth-punch. Look for hints of citrus fruit and malt sweetness as it washes over your pallet, and lastly the zing of black pepper.

8.2%ABV, but surprisingly light bodied for the 3 types of malts and 4 types of hops thrown into the brew kettle.

Post Review
With my re-review written and out of the way I have since allowed myself to take a peek at my original review. In my initial review, a mere 10 beers into this adventure, and without any background in reading or reviewing beers, I immediately picked up on the strong citrus element that is definitely there. I neglected to mention the pine, which I certainly would have detected but may not yet have known how to describe as 'pine,' being then ignorant of beer-critic terminology. I also mentioned lemon the first time, which I did not repeat in this second review, but in retrospect I can certainly see where I was coming from.

While I have certainly tasted some spectacular Double/Imperial IPA's in the intervening months, I don't feel compelled to downgrade my opinion of this one. Based on what I now know of the style, this one doesn't 'knock it out of the park' (though the west coast IPA crowd will certainly appreciate it the most), but it remains a great 'base line' example of what to expect from an American Double IPA.

Musical Pairing: Woodfall by Musk Ox

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)
The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)
River Rat Brew Trail (Central Pa)
Finger Lakes Beer Trail (Southern NY)

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