We are approaching that time of year again where more is better; flavor and bigness that is. With colder months upon us, our winter coat needs to be built up. A few extra pounds just may help in staying warmer this winter. And, with holidays fast approaching, desserts will abound. So, with our focus beer today and in this holiday mindset, we examine Southern Tier’s Salted Caramel Stout.
Southern Tier Brewing Company, located in Lakewood, NY, has produced finely crafted and bigger beers since 2002. Phineas DeMink and Allen Yahn started Southern Tier in 2002. By 2005, they were in full brewing mode. In 2009, the demand for their rapidly growing fan base of great craft recipes made it necessary to expand beyond the yearly offerings of pilsner, IPA and golden ale styles into seasonals that grew their notoriety. Today they are distributed among 30 states and beyond. Southern Tiers’ 110-barrel brewing capacity just barely keeps up with their distribution so more growth is projected. Their facility also ventured into distilling spirits in the spring of 2016. Find out more about Southern Tier at stbcbeer.com.
Firstly, Salted Caramel is not a beer of which you would drink more than two or more. Salted is a bit boozy but hides the full 10% ABV pretty well until you have gone after a second one. Southern’s web page for Salted proclaims, “We brewed Salted Caramel to pay tribute to one of our favorite sweets. In the same vein as salted caramel chocolates and truffles, our Salted Caramel stout is the perfect balance of sweet decadence and savory salt. Perfect alone, or enjoyed as a float.” Of their own volition, they announce Salted as a dessert beer. One sip of this dark caramel, almost black liquid with quickly disappearing khaki head gives you the sweetness and smooth flavor you might expect in dessert. The salt peaks through at the end of your sipping experience. Notes of butterscotch and toffee bounce around your tastebuds, supporting a medium, but rich, mouthfeel, giving way to bitterness at the end.
Although I am not a fruit beer, nor insultingly hot and spicy beer lover, I tend to like good hop quality with freshness served up straight. And I tend, in these cooler months, to lean on porters and stouts more often. So the timing and inquisitive blending of this brew makes it intriguing. Again, it is not for everyone. Try a single bottle purchase if you can to help you decide about the full 6 pack destination.
BeerAdvocate.com has officially awards it a 4.13 out of 5 and followers, rating it as high as 4.75 out of a 5.0 scale.
You can find Salted Caramel Stout at Case-n-Keg in Meredith as well as other fine beer providers.
Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to firstname.lastname@example.org