Southern Tier Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale – 5.4% ABV
Southern Tier Brewing Co. is located in southwest NY, not far from the state line with Pennsylvania. It’s also due east of Lake Erie. It sports a beer called “Extraordinary Ale” and as such, I had big hopes for my newest find. This is classified as a pale ale and is supposed to be a fine brew, considering it bears the name of two guys who are large and in charge at Southern Tier. After all, the Phin in “Phin & Matt” is Phineas DeMink, one of the founders of the brewery.
The beer is a nice golden amber color, and leaves a fairly thick creamy ivory head There is some decent retention in it as you work your way down the beer. The aroma is of white bread, with some citrus and yeast highlights and a bit of floral hops. It is nicely carbonated – not too much, not too little. While looking at it is all well and good, drinking it is where we separate the men from the boys.
Upon first sip, I really couldn’t describe what I was drinking. I got the hop bitterness a bit, but then I got some lemon zestiness and some malt creaminess. What’s weird is that all of them individually would be good, but none of them really stood out. And in the greater context, they seemed to neutralize each other. So what we have here is something that is a mash-up of various flavors. I don’t know if anyone did this when they were kids, but after baseball games, we’d hit the fountain drinks at 7-Eleven and pour “Suicides,” basically a little bit of every different soda they had on tap. Sure, it was full of sugar and caffeine and all the stuff you’d expect from something like this, but did it taste all that great? Not by a long shot. Honestly, that’s what I thought about this beer. So many great attributes, but they don’t seem to work well with each other, they just kind of cancel the other out. This just seems kind of bland and uninspiring. Another red flag in my book is when you get that metallic taste in your mouth. That’s a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned, and that happened on a few different pulls from this beer. Big turn off.
Nothing against Southern Tier, I know they have some great beers, but this one left me scratching my head. Maybe I got a bad batch or something? Whatever, I’ll try it again some other time and hope it can redeem itself. But this one wasn’t the impression I expected or wanted. Full of good ingredients? Most likely. Extraordinary? Not by a long shot.