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This balanced and sparkling oak aged ale is one of the more crisp ales I’ve had in recent memory. Not weighty or musty at all, Southern Tier’s Cuvée (a fancy French wine term derived from cuve, meaning vat or tank) comes in three series, a French Oak, American Oak, and the third is a blend of the two.

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The beautifully designed box is both upscale, and workman-like in it’s simplicity. The rough particleboard feel is printed with white, black, and silver ink in a variety of patterns. It has a spare-no-expense quality but shows restraint.

Southern Tier describes the beer:

ALE IMPRESSIONS: Light copper color, slight malt flavor with mild bitterness, dry finish with subtle hop aroma.

And the barrel it was aged in:

FRENCH OAK IMPRESSIONS: Qualities of toasted coconut, almond biscotti and toasted almonds with a taste of honeysuckle.

These descriptions are well-understood with your first taste.

Southern Tier (near Lake Chataqua, southwestern New York) cranks out a lot of different specialty brews, including many seasonals. Cuvée 1 is an October, and I’m eagerly awaiting the February release of the Cuvée 2.

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