When I was in Washington DC a few weeks ago I did some pre-flight homework on beer outlets from which I could purchase alcohol beverages to store in my suitcase, and as it so happened, there was a good retailer near my hotel (the name already escapes me). Just that week I’d been reading about some SOUTHERN TIER BREWING beers online, and I decided to make their 22-oz. beers my grail for the trip – if I could find those, I’d call the whole hunt a success. You may recall I tasted me first Southern Tier beer (the HEAVY WEIZEN) here and absolutely fell for it. Seems like the east coast is going nutzoid for their stuff right now, and I wanted to join in. Once I got to the store, I found not 1, not 2, but three different bombers from this brewer, and promptly chickened out and only brought home one for tasting purposes (one was a super-fortified barleywine; the other one I didn’t get was a coffee beer).
The one I pulled the trigger on is SOUTHERN TIER CHERRY SAISON, an imperial oak-aged cherry ale, and as the saying goes, “I’m glad I did”. It’s not quite what I expected, but who cares, right? This is a very hoppy, very Belgian beer, more akin to a tripel than the musty, earthy saison taste I’m used to. Right from the crack of the bat you can smell the cherries, but like any great brewer, Southern Tier don’t overdo it. You get Belgian candied sugar tastes, and a delicious roundness of flavors that I absolutely loved. Man, on the evidence this is one fantastic brewer. 8.5/10. I probably could even drink that weird-ass coffee beer right about now.