Southern Tier Brewing Company By: Lori Czekaj
Growth is a part of the game for every brewery trying to make a name for their product. Well, this brewery has reached the peak of opportunity. From a few barrels a day to a couple hundred, production is constantly on the rise.
Southern Tier Brewing Company now crafts around 90,000 barrels a year, and can be found in over thirty states nationally and some points internationally. Expansion has been the name of the game for this brewery, constantly working to keep up with the growing demand and crafting of new recipes. In 2009, they opened their 20,000 SF facility, and followed in 2010 by adding a conditioning room and a state of the art bottling line that is notably one of the best in North America, producing 10,000 bottles per hour. In 2012, the new brew house installation began and was completed in March of 2013 consisting of a building constructed in Germany and actually assembled “around” the new brew house! This awesome production showcases a tasting room “overlook” featuring 14 fresh draught lines as the highlight of their tasting tours.
The owner, Phin DeMink, began the brewery with friend Allen “Skip” Yahn in 2002. He and his wife Sara are at the helm of this dynamic business, serving as president and vice president. It’s the blood, sweat and tears this couple pours into the brewery that have led to its stardom. The facilities and crafts have developed together throughout the past ten years. And Southern Tier is just one tier of an entire beer culture that continues expanding.
“It’s been a really interesting ride,” said Nathan Arnone, media representative for Southern tier, located in Lakewood, New York. He insists it’s the vast catalogue of beers that draws in drinkers. Light beers, dark beers, hoppy beers, malty beers – there are an array of colors and flavors from which to choose, ranging from lower four percent alcohol all the way up to 14 percent.
Each craft holds its own unique flavor, with six being absolute year-rounds, and a new seasonal released every month.
“I think all that combined is one of the things people really like about our beers,” Nate commented on the spice of variety.
But despite the large-scale production and rapid release dates, the brewery keeps a close eye on every craft recipe. The founders set out to make a brewery focused on small-batch brewing, and they intend to not stray away from that.
Tiers and Tiers of Beers
With the new release of another seasonal each month, there are multiples of craft greatness from which to choose. Besides the year-rounds of both standards and imperials, there exist series, like the Blackwater series, as well as variety packs and limited edition beers.
Right now, there’s pilsner malt prepping to release for spring. Also, the brewery’s delicious barley wine, Backbone, is set to release at the end of February. It has been aged with oak and fermenting for two weeks before meeting drinkers.
It’s Not a Far Journey
Despite how far away New York sounds for Pittsburgh locals, it’s really only over a two-hour drive. Nate said that the last tour he gave had 60 people in attendance, and out of, that one-third were from Pittsburgh. “We really like Pittsburgh,” Nate said. “It’s close!” That being said, Pittsburgh was actually one of the first cities that Southern Tier distributed to outside of New York.
Southern Tier has a beautiful setting, perfect for featured tasting tours! During the spring and summer, Southern Tier is crawling with special events. There are parks and grounds surrounding the brewery with nature, accompanied with a relaxed atmosphere that entices visitors to spend the day strolling the grounds and experiencing the exquisite tastes straight from the tap! Tours are given each Saturday at 12:15, 1:00, 1:45, 2:30, 3:15, 4:00. Tours are $15 and include souvenir glass and 4 tastings. Lakewood, NY is a few short hours drive away from Pittsburgh and would make a great road trip to check out this incredible brewery. Southern Tier is actually much closer than many PA Craft Breweries. Check out the website for details and directions and special upcoming events; www.stbcbeer.com
Yum, a great spicy and hoppy India Pale Ale. The color pours a light copper. The smell is fresh, grassy and sweet while the taste is highly bitter with light sweet caramel to boot. The spice comes out strongest toward the end. It has a higher alcohol of 9.5 percent. Pairs well with sharp cheeses, poignant foods and a lot of spice. Want more IPA per bottle? Also try the 2XIPA or simmer down with the original Southern Tier IPA.
Phin & Matt’s
Three types of hops and three types of malts come together in this craft. Founder Phin and pal made this pale ale to taste crisp and clean, using perfectly filtered water, whole hops and the best crop of barley. The smell is bready and earthy and the taste is of light grassiness and flowers. It holds a 5.4 percent alcohol percentage. Pair with earthy cheeses, grilled chicken, buffalo mozzarella, seafood and the classic American cheeseburger, of course.
An India Pale Ale brewed with 4 varieties of hops and 3 types of malts. This beer is kicked up a notch to form a true Double IPA: feverishly hoppy with a malty backbone and higher-than-standard alcohol content. Citrusy hops tease the senses with aromatics and lingering bitterness, while just the right balance of malts disguises 2XIPA’s extra gravity. Double your expectations, this is an ale that demands reverence. Pair with beef brisket, garlic fries, strong, spicy food.
Pales Variety Pack – 4 bottles of IPA, Phin & Matt’s & 422 Pale Wheat Ale
This version of our crowd-pleasing variety pack contains 4 bottles each of their famous India Pale Ale, Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale, and 422 Pale Wheat Ale. A wide selection which makes it perfect for the person trying new beers, or for the seasoned drinker looking for a range of flavor. Their IPA is brewed with 4 varieties of hops and 4 malts and comes in at 7.3% abv. Phin & Matt’s is brewed with 3 varieties of hops and 3 types of malts, and is 5.7% abv. Pale Wheat Ale, known as 422, is a tribute to Earth Day, and at 5.8% is no slouch in this box.
Southern Tier also produces a variety of other seasonals, and they are the #1 Pumpkin Beer in the market with their Pumpking beer, brewed since 2007. Pumking is a medium-light bodied, low-bitter ale, with a malty sweetness, offering a hint of vanilla, spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is paired best with the traditional “comfort” foods of the season, as well as desserts! This much sought after seasonal is available from August release through the season, as availability permits.
Checkout the brewery’s awesome website to find your favorite brews – www.stbcbeer.com – Proudly distributed locally by Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale.