Southern Tier 2XIPA sticker

Southern Tier 2xIPA

Southern Tier Brewing Co. 2XIPA

  • peach; cotton candy!; pineapple
  • moderately spicy; pineapple; hints of rose
  • not at all bitter; floral and sweet

There’s a method to my madness. I may profess to “not like IPAs,” but stick one in front of me and I’ll drink it and probably enjoy it. It’s just in this grand world of craft beer, there’s so much to explore, and if I dedicated myself to finding an IPA that I find outstanding, well, there are a lot of contenders, and many of them are just super-spiced, hoppy beers with no particular body.

Southern Tier 2XIPA sticker

A sticker for the Southern Tier 2XIPA, courtesy of the Southern Tier website.

But a Southern Tier 2XIPA, set down in front of me to review for our first DnU Night Out, changed my opinion about IPAs in general. There was the characteristic spice from dry-hopping, but milder, blending in with the body of the beer instead of overwhelming it. The overall characteristic of the beer was a sweet, pineapple flavor, however, which shot the beer out of its IPA designation. Through some amazing alchemy of three types of malt and four types of hops, Southern Tier created a sweet, full-bodied ale with hints of rose and peach. The malts give the ale a high alcohol content, 8.2%, and, I assume, the complexity that’s missing in a lot of other IPAs.

Now, if this beer were given to me in a non-descript glass, and I had no way of knowing what type of beer this was, I would never have assumed it was an IPA, let alone a double IPA, so fans of the genre, be warned. However, this broke through the boundary of what I would consider an IPA, which is a good thing, and maybe fans of IPAs should have their boundaries broken, too. If there’s more to IPAs than the final hops they throw in the beer—which can cover up many sins in the original wort—then I’m excited to explore them further.

Southern Tier 2XIPA is available at The Cortland in Bay Shore, all year, and—like Ithaca Beer Ground Break, which I reviewed last week—will be just $4 a bottle on March 10, 2011, for our DnU Night Out. Southern Tier operates out of Lakewood, NY, south of Lake Erie, and is available in a surprising amount of states and countries.