Now, it isn’t just because I’m a gemini that I picked up this brew. No, it was the fact that Southern Tier has recently started distributing to Maine, and I had to celebrate by picking up several bottles that I’ll be reviewing over the next few weeks. I can’t wait to try a lot of their line – famous for their strongly-flavored and sometimes ridiculously sweet beer (you’d be famous for that too if you had a creme brulee stout) this is the first of many I’ll be trying.
Gemini is a blended version of two of their brews – Unearthly and Hoppe. This is honestly the first blended brew that I’ve come across that wasn’t a lambic, so this should be interesting. Ideally I’d love to try this side by side with each of its components. But, lacking that, I’ll dive in anyway.
I poured it out and was happy to see that it was a dark orange, with a lot of cloudiness going on. The smell was an interesting one. Not all hops, it included a bit of sweet smell to it (caramel?) and seemed to be something that I would definitely enjoy.
The first sip on this was one that coated the inside of my lips immediately. Not so sweet as to make me pucker, but full of an intense flavor. It was a backed-down IPA with some almost barleywine characteristics – a sweetness that stuck around and left a syrupy feeling in my mouth. After a few more sips, I got more of the hops out of it, and began to feel that little bitter twinge. Interesting dual personalities going on in this brew (for good reason). At 10.5% ABV there was some alcohol there, too, but it was hidden underneath layers of sweetness and depth.
I don’t think that I could have this with dinner, however. It has one of those flavors that just stays in your mouth for hours. Might be interesting to cook with, though I don’t usually recommend wasting imperial beers in cooking.
If they were truly trying to get the dual personalities metaphor going, they’ve done well – this goes back and forth on the palate but then does not let you forget that you’ve tasted it. I don’t think its toned down enough for people who aren’t huge into hops to like. But, for those bored with traditional IPAs, this might be an interesting “variation on a theme” for you to check out.