Sunday, December 11, 2011

Southern Tier: Harvest Ale – Or, American Pale Ale?

Situated in the southwestern tier of New York State, just across the Pennsylvania border, Southern Tier Brewing Company makes some of the finest brews around. Unfortunately, I found their Harvest Ale to be a bit wanting. What I expected from this “English-styled Extra Special Bitter” was a mildly hoppy ale supported by moderate references to malts. Instead, this harvest ale was far more hop focused, with only faint references to malts. Overall, however, this was still a very tasty treat. 

Pouring the contents into a glass reveals a clear copper color – very befitting for this particular style of beer. The head was decent, although a bit on the weak side. Nevertheless, the lacing appeared to be somewhat impressive – mildly dense and resilient. Taking a whiff uncovers its hoppy character – tropical fruits, pine, and somewhat florally, but few references to the underlying malt. The taste is similar to the aroma profile: tropical fruits with a bitter finish that felt more appropriate for summer time rather than harvest time. Even with a 6.4 percent ABV, a hint of booze was detectable in the finish. The mouth feel was bubbly and refreshing.  

Overall, Southern Tier’s Harvest Ale was a bit off from its intended style. Nevertheless, if you like American-style pale ales, this one is definitely worth a try.

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