12/3/16: Southern Tier Brewing Company's 2xMas Ale

5:15 PM

Happy December! As with everything I try to do on this blog, I'm a few days late--I had initially planned on posting this two days ago on the 1st. But, you don't care about that, do you? No, I'm willing to bet that you're here for the beer. And, true to what I said in last post I did, here's post about a Christmas beer that is brand-spankin'-new to me.


That beer is, of course, Southern Tier's 2xMas. This is a beer I've seen plenty of times over the last few years (you know, since I've been paying attention to beer) but haven't ever picked up--until now. I don't know if you pronounce it "Double Ex Mas," "Twice Mas" (which is the one to which I am most partial), "Two Ex Mas" or something in between, but that doesn't matter as long as the brew is up to snuff, right?

According to the "Brewery History" page of Southern Tier's website, Phineas DeMink and Allen "Skip" Yahn, the brewery's cofounders, started up the operation in 2002 in an attempt to bring the tradition of small-batch brewing back to the fore of their community of Lakewood, NY. From their inception onward, they've seen pretty steady growth and now distribute to the majority of the US and a few places beyond.

2xMas (the page for which is here) is a double spiced ale inspired by traditional Swedish Glögg. This 8% ABV ale features two hop varieties, four kinds of malts, cinnamon, clove, ginger, orange peel, cardamom, and figs, and has the aroma of dried fruits, spice cake, and mulled wine. (If you're wondering, it doesn't clarify my pronunciation issue.)

From the nose, I'm not getting much spice cake, but I am getting a lot of spices. Particularly clove. I'm also getting the whole mulled wine part. And, just a teensy bit of dried fruit. Let me say this: 2xMas' aroma doesn't mirror that of any other beer I've ever had--it stands alone. And, I like it. It's in no way what I was expecting (which was something sweeter than what I found), but it's good. Háma also liked it. He gave it a good four whiffs, which is high praise coming from this cat.


Upon taking a swig, the aroma expands upward in your mouth, which is really cool. It's clove on the front with the orange peel and figs bringing up the rear. Oh, and there's not one trace of booziness in the flavor. If I didn't know how strong it was, I may be tempted to have a few in a sitting. Much like with the aroma, 2xMas doesn't taste like any other beer I've ever had.

It's got a moderate mouthfeel; which is to say that it's pretty standard for an ale. Not too fizzy, nowhere near flat. Just right. But, the expanding of the aroma in your mouth gives the brew a filling quality that most ales lack.

The ale brings me back the church my family went to while I was growing up. It's not a wintry/Christmasy memory, but something I more distinctly associate with summer. I sit through the service in kaki pants and a short-sleeved, grey-striped polo (doing my best to beat the heat) and lose myself in the amazing pipe organ music ringing through the church's wall (it was an old pipe organ that provided the heartbeat to the building).

After service, the congregation would convene in the building's parlor for punch and cookies (and fellowship). For whatever reason--probably the heavy cloves--I'm vividly recalling the red painted parlor (which had a clovey scent), the lime-flavored fruit punch, and the store-brand Oreos.

Anyway, I am pleasantly surprised with 2xMas. I was expecting a run-of-the-mill Christmas ale, but Southern Tier's crafted something special and wholly unique. I'm giving it a 9.0/10. I know it may not be for everyone (Michelle's not a fan), but it's definitely for me and it's placed the brewery squarely on my "To Drink More Of" list.

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