Southern Tier Compass 9.0% ABV
American Pale Ale
I walk out to my car, huddled underneath my bright red Kansas City Chiefs jacket. The wind is blowing hard. It is so damn cold. I press the trunk unlock button on my key fob and go to open the trunk. It’s stuck. I press the button again and try hard to lift open the trunk. It doesn’t budge. It’s frozen shut. I let out an audible groan and then open the passenger door and stuff my luggage into the front seat. I scuffle my way to the driver side door. I plop down into the car seat and turn on the engine. Now the waiting, the horrible cold waiting begins. My windshield is covered in frost. I turn on the defroster full blast. Too cold and tired to even turn on the radio, I sit in icy silence as the frost slowly melts until I can see through my windshield enough to drive.
I make it to the airport and board my plane. Stuffing my bulky jacket into the overhead compartment, I look forward to not using it again until I return. The plane takes off and I drift to sleep dreaming of my destination. I awake as the plane begins its descent. We land and as I exit the plane I feel the hot humid air wash over me. How I’ve longed for a sweat inducing heat. I take a short cab ride to the port and then an hour boat ride out to the Cayes where I will be staying. We arrive at the tiny island I will call home for the week and I make my way on foot to my lodging as there are no cabs. I check in and immediately ask for a bucket of ice. I enter my room, set my luggage down on the bed and step out to my porch which is right on the beach. I place the ice bucket on the table. I then pull out my 22oz bottle of Southern Tier Compass, which I have smuggled through customs. With my swimsuit on and a white T-shirt, I sit in silence listening to the sounds of the ocean, a slight perspiration covering me and I wait for my beer to reach 42 degrees F. I plunge my hand into the bucket, the cold against my skin actually feels good as I pull my brew out. I open it and pour my first serving into a 9oz tulip glass.
From the first sip the beer is light, crisp, and refreshing. There is only a hint of the taste I’m used to from a pale ale. The citrusy flavor is by far most prominent and quite enjoyable. The high alcohol content is undetectable in this brew. I finish my first serving and pour another. I place the bottle back in the ice bucket and take the glass with me as I walk towards the sea. The perfect white sand looks like snow. I take a sip and notice the bitter aftertaste of the brew which reminds me for a moment of the bitter cold I have left thousands of miles to the north. A smile spreads across my face as I step into the small waves that crash around my ankles. I soak in the sea salt, the surf, the wet sand that I sink into as each wave comes in and then recedes around my feet. I drink in my beer and stare out at the crystal clear water and sigh. The combination of the alcohol, the warmth of the sun, and the sights and sounds of the Caribbean ocean take away all my tension and stress. This summer seasonal beer consumed in late November is the best I’ve ever had*.
*Today in Springfield, Ill, there is a high of 38 F and a low of 16 F. In Belize City, Belize the high is 86 F and the low is 72 F, today. This review was a fantasy induced while drinking the Compass beer in Springfield, dealing with the bitter cold.