Style Commentary by Maria Devan
OK so I was minding my own business getting ready for new beer sunday. I decided to try One Buffalo and base my wry obervations on the idea that this is a gimmick beer because it’s affiliated with a professional sports team. ( wait until you read what I wrote then you will say – I know why she’s going off here) then just this weekend, the style changed. Literally. The style they announced and the style it is now are different this happened yesterday?
Here is my proof that they were calling this an American pale ale not that long ago. I admit I did not really understand what specialty grain is especially since they appear to have changed the style up based on that and so ok here goes.
This beer is made in affiliation with a professional sports team. So, I was thinking of the thread is this a gimmick? It’s certainly New York so I’m all in! 2row malt, oats and wheat on Willamette and Centennial hops. So a noble type hop and a citric hop but both are american. It’s also a year round beer not a seasonal so that’s like saying “we don’t think this beer is a gimmick.” Appearance – yellow , clear with a reasonable off white head that ranged from very soapy and moussy that lasted an abnormally long time to a creamier faster falling head of more normal looking foam. The color is not gold or golden it is yellow.
The style is American Pale Ale and the appearance is good. Nose – doughy malts combine on the nose with a light lemon citric hop and fragrant wheat. The effect is fresh. Lemony and dry. Wheat creeps on to the nose more and more as the beer warms reminding me how aromatic it really is. The idea that the malt character contains specialty malt is relevant to the style. In this beer I think the specialty malt is the oats. I think they are responsible for that head I saw. Hops are firm on the nose with herbal. Taste is lively with flavor but it’s like someone has stolen the mouthfeel a bit. The malts are sturdy and the hops are more forward than you think. This beer has tastes that are breaddy but not sweet from both oats and barley. The oats add a rustic dimension to a malt that I would otherwise say was bland. Like a hearty multi grain cracker. The wheat is where there is a touch of sweetness. It’s fragrant and when it meets the palate it helps to show you how powerful these hops really are. They do not show as much of the citric flavor as the IPA but they do show a moderate and- optional for the style – hop palate. The balance is toward the late hops and the bitterness just like the style says. It’s carbonated like soda so as absurdly smooth as it is those bubbles do a job to let all the flavor really peak at the swallow. The palate remains neutral for as much hop as they used. There are no caramel flavors in this style and there are none in this beer. There is a full flavor of malt with a surprising softness in the body keeping the drink dry and light. The hops are so peppery it makes me laugh. This beer shows how firm hops can be on the palate and shows full malt flavor with a session strength abv. I think southern tier did that on purpose too. Said here’s your session , hoppy beer but it’s not quite an IPA. It is a clean good finish with light lemon flavor that lasts . They pair it with every stadium food you can think of on their website.
My only criticism of the beer is on the nose. By the time you have had a few you begin to notice a pungent scent like flour that has gone sour and I bet that is from the oats too and/or has to do with astringency? Again that would be oats as a specialty malt in how it’s used. It used to make the body smooth. I also think that Southern Tier has just displayed some skillful brewing in creating a beer specifically for a venue with a menu, that is authentic craft beer that does indeed meet it’s style if that style is APA.
For words that start with “p” that describe southern tier’s beer I would say peppery – I also mean in attitude because southern tier has featured hops in a very careful way on the palate of this beer and they are multidimensional. Not patronizing – I do not think that ST dumbed down thee style intentionally although the specialty malt that they chose to use had an enormous affect on the mouthfeel and flavors. At times it seems to drink watery but it sure is not watery. They also showed prudence in keeping this beer to the lowest abv for the style making it a true session beer. So at a game you could have a few of these easily.
Another good reason I think it’s an american pale ale and not a blonde is because of the citrusy american hop character, the character malt flavor is hardly light, finishes 100 percent dry despite the wheat and that’s because of the oats/specialty malt, and it is balanced toward hops not malt. It just does not fit this description of the blonde –
“Low to medium bitterness, but the balance is normally towards the malt. Finishes medium-dry to somewhat sweet.”
“Moderate to high hop flavor ” on the other hand = APA
That light lemony flavor does not automatically equal blonde ale. IMO The style of beer Southern Tier originally described is American Pale Ale. I wonder why that has changed?
according to the bjcp and also a reason why I think this is an American Pale Ale like originally stated –
Ingredients: Pale ale malt, typically American two-row. American hops, often but not always ones with a citrusy character. American ale yeast. Water can vary in sulfate content, but carbonate content should be relatively low. Specialty grains may add character and complexity, but generally make up a relatively small portion of the grist. Grains that add malt flavor and richness, light sweetness, and toasty or bready notes are often used (along with late hops) to differentiate brands.