Beer of the Week: Southern Tier Hop Sun

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John Linn
Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it: How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.

After tasting Hop Sun, a recently-available summer seasonal, I was convinced that Southern Tier's brewmasters knew exactly what it was like to park on the beach in the heart of summer, sipping cool brews and ducking underneath a beach umbrella to escape the beating sun. And, well, maybe they do. But that would be in spite of the fact that Southern Tier doesn't refer to the South, but the southern third of New York State.

Still, this is a beer with Florida Summers in mind. Which makes me glad Southern Tier has suddenly become so widely available in the Sunshine State.

What makes hop sun so summer appropriate? Well, it's a light-bodied wheat ale with an alcohol content of 4.8%, making it a perfect session brew. To be frank, the wheat malt is very faint as well. In this case, it's a good thing -- all you get is a subtle dose of peppery spice and none of the sourness you'd usually associate with a wheat beer. The hops lean citrusy and clean with only a mild bitterness, meaning Hop Sun has relatively little aftertaste. And with a fair amount of carbonation and light, airy head, it stays drinkable even as it warms -- which will happen if you're pulling on a bottle in 90 degree heat.

The end result is a beer that drinks easy for long periods of time but one that also has great flavor. It's super food friendly too, so whether you're grilling burgers or slurping down raw clams, Hop Sun will hang. It may not be made in Florida, but it sure drinks like it.

Find Hop Sun at Total Wine and More and select Publix and Whole Foods.
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