Whenever I go back to the Midwest I try to get my hands on as many Southern Tier beers as possible. Sadly this was the only one I got to sample this time around.
LIVE is a bottle conditioned American Pale Ale with a 5.5% ABV. Beer is made by creating a liquid rich with fermentable material. This ‘wort’ is moved to a fermentation vessel where yeast, a living organism, is added. Yeast swims around the fermenter gobbling up the soluble sugar and converting that energy into alcohol. Imagine the feeding frenzy of millions of tiny yeast cells eating their way around a big fermenter. It’s a volatile and active environment. During this time, the beer is literally alive. Just prior to packaging, we add a little yeast to the clear beer for a secondary fermentation. This helps to add carbonation, remove oxygen, and prolong shelf life.
Instead of the traditional copper color one would expect from a Pale Ale, Live poured a clear golden yellow. This was also a little surprising considering the beer was bottle conditioned. The head was a billowy inch of white that left a ton of cloud-like lacing on the glass.
The nose was very hoppy. Notes of grass, flowers, and potpourri were dominant, but balanced out by a lemon lime soda-like zestiness near the end. Lemon peel and crackers were also detected as it warmed, but this dissolved into an almost Lemon Pledge like astringency.
Thankfully the flavor was more in line with the first part of the nose and not so much the second. It started with grassy and flowery hops that transitioned smoothly into lemon notes and sourdough toast dryness. Hints of cracker and straw appeared in the backend and gave the flavor a good cohesion. The combination of grassy hops and bottle conditioning gave this beer a flavor akin to a Saison.
Mouthfeel was light, but dry. It starts off very crisp, but dries up quickly. Leaving behind some hop stickiness when all is said and done.
Southern Tier is a brewery that has earned my trust over the years by making solid beers like Live. A very smooth and well put together Pale Ale that showcased some lesser shown, but no less impressive, hop aromas/flavors. I’ve been on a real grassy/flowery hop kick lately and this beer had it in spades. Live could easily become my go-to Pale Ale if it was readily available on the West Coast.
Overall: 8 out of 10
As an AMERICAN PALE ALE: 8.5 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Central Waters HAPPY HERON, Half Acre DAISY CUTTER, New Belgium DIG