Boy, did I screw up. A beer-loving friend of mine whose opinion I respect more than anyone else on the subject told me how great Southern Tier 2XMAS was after I posted a picture of it on Facebook. The lone bottle that I scored was pictured amongst the rest of a haul from Total Wine, and therein lies the problem.
I only got one bottle.
Sad to say, that’s become the norm for me these days. Would that I had bought an entire six-pack (this one was $10.99) because as I later found out, this is one hell of a beer. But I didn’t, and I usually don’t anymore, because it’s just become too expensive to bring home all those six-packs. So, single bottles are instead dropped into my shopping cart, along with the occasional six-pack of a staple brew.
Southern Tier says 2XMAS is modeled after Swedish Glogg, though they classify it as a “Double Spiced Ale”. The beer is made with 4 malt and 2 hop varieties, figs, orange peels, clove, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. It’s a reasonably strong beer at 8% alcohol by volume.
Southern Tier 2XMAS pours to a very dark brown color with a light creamy head formation and a delicious nose of spicy cinnamon and ginger and dark fruits. Taking a sip, the beer has dark chocolaty notes up front that are quickly accented by spicy cinnamon and nutmeg, dark fruity fig, and bright spicy orange flavors. There’s a heady cinnamon aroma throughout the beer. The ginger detected in the nose reappears in the finish, along with a subtle roasty and hop bitterness. Warming alcohol helps dry it out as well.
My bottle has a date of birth listed as 10/18/12. Once again, I wish I had bought more, because I immediately fell in love with this wonderful beer. The dark malts, spices, tangy citrus, and dark fruity fig all work together perfectly to make a beer that will be a delight to sip right into spring.
If you see Southern Tier 2XMAS, don’t hesitate to buy it. Even after Christmas. This is a beer that will definitely double your drinking pleasure, and should store well, too. In my opinion the best beer I’ve had from this brewery.
Dare I suggest it with fruitcake?
Update 12/3/2014: Southern Tier 2XMAS has fast become one of my favorite holiday beers, and I'm seriously enjoying a growler from Stout's Growlers tonight. Fresh cinnamon sticks, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, French toast, and the orange and fig really come out as it warms. 2XMAS has actually come down in price to $9.99 a six-pack or $8 for a 32-ounce growler at Stouts. Magnificent!
Update 12/1/2016: December of 2016 features Southern Tier as the beer of the month, and one of the spotlighted beers is Southern Tier 2XMAS. December 1st falls on a Thursday, pint glass night! $6 for a 20-ounce mug and that comes with a beautiful 2XMAS glass. I'm in heaven!
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.