Southern Tier's got a new bomber release this winter with its Live Pale Ale. The story behind this beer is that the brewers wanted to do a bottle-conditioned pale ale and thought it'd be clever to tie in the "living" aspect of unfiltered ales (that is, beer with yeast either remaining from the first fermentation or with yeast added pre-bottling to provide a second "bottle-fermentation") with live music. The label is cool; it's adorned with a huge collage of actual ticket stubs from shows the brewers and employees of STBC have attended. Unfiltered APAs aren't really a very new idea, but they are usually pretty enjoyable.

This brew pours a pale yellow with some golden orange highlights. Body is clearer than I thought and not 100 percent opaque, but it does contain some floating hop solids and light, swirling yeast, especially later on in the bottle. The initially foamy, white head fades surprisingly quickly, but it leaves behind some static, thin lacing that is at least a vestige of the foam's brief presence. Though the body on this is very nice, I can't help but feel like the head isn't as played up as it should be for an unfiltered APA. Luckily the scent is fantastic. Fresh citrus (orange, lemon zest, grapefruit), fresh-cut grass and pine hops interplay with a pale malt backing that definitely smells delicious to me. First sip is refreshing and tasty.


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Looks like that bottle conditioning is doing its job here. The decision to leave yeast in is a very active one; it prolongs shelf-life, increases carbonation and removes oxygen from the bottle. And, on top of that, I absolutely love unfiltered beer.

This brew pours a pale yellow with some golden orange highlights. Body is clearer than I thought and not 100 percent opaque, but it does contain some floating hop solids and light, swirling yeast, especially later on in the bottle. The initially foamy, white head fades surprisingly quickly, but it leaves behind some static, thin lacing that is at least a vestige of the foam's brief presence. Though the body on this is very nice, I can't help but feel like the head isn't as played up as it should be for an unfiltered APA. Luckily the scent is fantastic. Fresh citrus (orange, lemon zest, grapefruit), fresh-cut grass and pine hops interplay with a pale malt backing that definitely smells delicious to me. First sip is refreshing and tasty. Looks like that bottle conditioning is doing its job here. The decision to leave yeast in is a very active one; it prolongs shelf-life, increases carbonation and removes oxygen from the bottle. And, on top of that, I absolutely love unfiltered beer.

This beer definitely feels "alive"; though its "4 malt, 4 hop" approach is simple and straightforward, it does interesting things with the bare-bones ingredients that make it a tasty, drinkable and successful APA. It was also extremely cheap ... I think I paid $4 for this.

The official breakdown:

  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Appearance: Sort of pale straw-yellow with hints of powerful golden orange. Head is lacking in retention but leaves some sticky lace. Medium transparency
  • Scent: Vibrant and aromatic floral, citric and pine hops; quite the aroma with some light malt back and a touch of yeasty must
  • Taste: Toasted bread crust, orange marmalade, lemon oil, grapefruit peel, some pine resin, light caramel malt, nutty and chewy yeast
  • Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied especially towards the end with almost no watery feel to mention. Coating hop oils and some passive carbonation
  • Drinkability: Good, about on par for the style. I definitely like how the flavor evolves, and a bomber is a good format for a session APA. Solid!
From http://blogs.lowellsun.com/beer.