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Northern Lights Ale - South Shore Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Lights Ale
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BA SCORE
80
good

41 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 41
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 23.63%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
South Shore Brewery visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Cream Ale |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: tavernjef on 06-01-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Strix:
Photo of Strix
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pale color, little head.

Aroma is flowery and spicey.

Taste is citrusy, flowery, and spicey, quite nice. A lot of coriander in there. A cream ale with flavor.

Light mouthfeel.

I kind of like it. It finishes kind of plain, but it's well balanced with a blend of pleasant, light tastes. This beer is among South Shore's more interesting selections (interesting in a good way, that is).

Strix, Sep 21, 2007
More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.33/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There is nothing particularly special about the appearance of this beer but it only takes one whiff to know that you are dealing with something special.

South Shore’s Cream is definitely not for everyone but I think that it is pretty darn neat.

Its aroma smacks you upside the head with lavender, boat loads of lavender. Hints of other herbs follow including basal, coriander, a touch of cinnamon, and wheat.

The taste is as bold and unique as the nose. My overall impression is of sun dried tomatoes and basal. This beer tastes similar to the flavor of a sun dried tomato-basal cracker that I once had. I think it was a Trisket.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin but the carbonation is well balanced and it’s creamy enough to work.

Drinkability: High. They go down like popcorn at a matinee.

DaPeculierDane, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up in Milwaukee at Murray's awhile back. Pours from the 12oz bottle into my glass a light sunshine/straw yellow hue that's a bit hazy along with a nice half inch of creamy white head. Aromas of really light pale malts with a nice helping of coriander and lavender. Herbal, citric and slightly spicy in the nose as well. Mellow and intriguing.

First sip brings a light sundried maltiness that's quickly met by a sweet herbal tones, especially coriander and lavender yet again. A touch of citrus, floral notes and spice in the middle, it flows down with a soft bitterness. Pretty light, refreshing and tasty really.

A light body and fast paced carbonation makes this one go down incredibly easily with a touch of creaminess as well. Nothing earth shattering here, but this would make a good brew on a hot day. I'll have to try some other South Shore brews next time I'm in Wiscosin.

orbitalr0x, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of deebo
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%

deebo, Oct 13, 2012
Photo of cokes
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hmmm....I think I've had this other places, only it was called ginger ale.
And in many ways, that is exactly what it sets out to be.
Pours a semi-hazy golden with a edging of white suds.
The nose is really the ringer here, with its thick blanket of lavender, crystallized ginger, rosewater, and spearmint. It smells absolutely intoxicating, it just doesn't smell anything like "beer".
Onto the taste, malt and hops exist only in chaperoning amounts. The basest of white breads and dry leaves, with a dollop of corn syrup. The herbal contributions loom obviously large, with vanilla pod, ginger, cardamon, mace, clover honey, and loudest of all, jasmine and lavender. This is akin to drinking perfume without all that smell-incongruent astringency.
The body is soda-thin, highly carbonated, but just shoves itself down the throat.
Difficult as hell to rate, as this veers mighty close to the leper malternative. But there is certainly a place for this.
Seems like the best soft drink I've ever had.

cokes, Dec 07, 2005
Photo of ChopperSmith
2.75/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy and cloudy light yellow/golden. Very little foamy head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Faintly sweet and grainy/grassy. No noticeable hops aroma detected. Smells like an average cream ale/adjunct lager.

Taste: Fairly thin, weak and sweet. Not the worst cream ale I've tried, but far from the best. Everything about this cream ale is fairly average.

Mouthfeel: Thin, light and highly carbonated. Not so great.

Drinkability: This brew is light on just about everything, as far as cream ales go. It's closer to a light beer than a cream ale. Not a lot of flavor, and not one I'd seek out again. For Wisconsin beers, New Glarus does a better cream ale with their "Spotted Cow" brand.

ChopperSmith, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.95/5  rDev -15%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Originally reviewed April 9, 2005. On tap at the Gitchee Gumee Brewfest 2005. The aroma made me think of being in a spice store with all the various blend of musky spices, but it was all downhill from there. The color was light golden and boring. The flavor tasted like bandaids and medicine, although I'm downright certain it was not infected, but nonetheless was obviously unpleasent. No depth and a VERY watery finish.

CharlesDarwin, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of Pbomb
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color is golden and a bit cloudy. There is a small white head after you pour. The beer has a light hoppy/floral, citrus, and ginger scent along with some other unidentifiable herbs. The taste is the same, but not very powerful. There is a little carbonation, and some bitter endnotes. Overall, the beer is not complex, nor is it spectacular...but it's good and drinkable.

Pbomb, Jun 07, 2008
Photo of emerge077
3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure if this a new recipe or just a rebranding. The Northern Lights label says "ale with herbs added".

Dark tawny reddish orange, visible carb trails, long lasting head retention, it pours with a few fingers of foam at first, and the skim never breaks on the surface. Not much lace, just a few spotty bits.

Aroma is mild, light toasty malt, vaguely sweet.

Taste is an unusual combo of toasted barley and most likely sage, a light sweetness at first, then drying in the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carb levels. Lingering toastiness in the aftertaste, the herb addition is only a flash in the middle. Overall not bad, i'll admit I avoided this beer before when it was named "Herbal Cream Ale", but it's not a bad beer at all.

emerge077, Jun 09, 2013
Photo of dav2080
2/5  rDev -42.4%

dav2080, Sep 01, 2012
Photo of dosrojos
5/5  rDev +44.1%

dosrojos, May 11, 2012
Photo of atone315
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

atone315, Apr 08, 2013
Photo of granger10
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Semi hazy blondish color with a larger fluffy head that rises quick and fades quicker. Small layer of foam across the top of the liquid and tons of lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma is honeyish in sweetness with floral qualities and some fresh herbs. Very nature oriented, garden like, fresh.

Taste is similar. Honey sweet with a pale malt touch. A bit of some fresh floral hoppiness. Then lots of herbs. Maybe ginseng, maybe coriander, maybe rosemary, I'm not sure but there's a good presence there mid-palate. Finish is sweeter but very abrupt.

Body is light but holds the flavors well and the transition and level of liveliness are about right.

This was fairly drinkable and a nice beer to sip on while working on my new place. I really felt a bit energized after drinking it. I wonder what's all in this?

granger10, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of d5001986
2/5  rDev -42.4%

d5001986, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of wallrock
4/5  rDev +15.3%

wallrock, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of pweis909
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Unusual beer with lavender scent and maybe another herb that I cannot name right now. I could see how the herbal spices might be offputting to someone who just wants to drink a beer. I was pretty skeptical, but the taste and aroma did grow on me.

This review reflects thoughts on a 6 pack of bottles consumed over the course of several days.

A-Looks like a yellow ale. No remarkable head characteristics.

S-Doesn't really smell like beer, does it? Strong lavender. Still, a little credit for being different.

T-The traditional beer characteristics (hops/malt) are unremarkable. About what I expect for a cream ale. It comes down to weather you like the herbal qualities.

M-A bit thin.

D-After my first bottle, I thought I had wasted $8, but this grew on me and I found myself looking forward to the herbal taste. Still, it reminds me of medicine more than beer. Probably not for everyone.

pweis909, Oct 03, 2005
Photo of KeefD
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a variety sixer from Amy's Cheese and Wine in Stanley, Wisconsin. It was one of 6 Wisconsin beers I've never had, sampled over the weekend. Review is from notes I took Friday and Saturday May 9th and 10th

I noticed there were some nice remnants in the bottle so I poured 3/4 of this ale slowly into a pint glass, swished the remaining 1/4 in the bottle and topped it off creating a marvelous head.

Hazy golden-yellow in color. Much like a Heffe.

Smell is sweet, citrusy, and malty and taste is the same. It starts out dry but get fruity and spicy as it warms. No alcohol can be detected at all, as the ABV is quite low. At the end, the flavor turns citric, mostly orange and definite hints of coriander, probably the main "spice" added to this beer. Mouthfeel is totally creamy, very little carbonation but a delicate, nice body.

This thing is so easy to drink, goes down smooth, taste is good, and it's an all around good beer... yet somewhat average. It's nothing that would blow your mind, but would be a great sixer to have on a hot summer's day. There are some interesting things going on in this beer that I haven't been used to. I like it, but I'm not sure why. Just an interesting flavor and good balance.

KeefD, May 13, 2008
Photo of Savan
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Savan, Jul 02, 2014
Photo of TastyIsBeer
3/5  rDev -13.5%

TastyIsBeer, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of zeledonia
2.78/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy golden wheaty yellow color. Little head, gone in a second, and little lacing.

Smell is an amalgam of grains, with a hint of lavender and a touch of apple. Wheat, some light sweetness that feels like corn, but I don't think it is. Interesting, and very different. It's a soft aroma, but full and varied.

Taste is again interesting, though I'm not liking it as much as the smell. Has a very adjuncty feel, with some flavors sitting back there that just don't seem like they belong in beer. Is there corn in this? Has a faint herb-like flavor as well (maybe that's the label working on me). A weak almost-bitter spiciness comes in late. A real mishmash, but none of it great, and it doesn't come together for me.

Light body, just enough carbonation that I'm not irritated, but not enough to make me happy. Finish is blah.

This beer has some highs and lows, but all around, I just find it kinda odd. The flavor is strangely cluttered with hops, adjuncts, and herbs. I'm often meh about cream ales, and this one does nothing to change that.

zeledonia, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of beveragecaptain
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. South Shore Herbal Cream Ale pours out a hazy, light yellow color with little head. Ginger and herbs in the aroma. Reminds me of the aroma of Heavyweight Two Druids. Ginger flavor with mint and herbs. A little sour. Zesty lemon. Doesn't taste much like beer, but the flavor is interesting and refreshing. Light to medium mouthfeel. I enjoyed this beer, but some drinkers may be put off by the odd herbal flavors.

beveragecaptain, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of jduff
1.08/5  rDev -68.9%

jduff, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of Chokobo
2/5  rDev -42.4%

Chokobo, May 15, 2013
Photo of majorbase2
3/5  rDev -13.5%

majorbase2, Aug 25, 2013
Photo of KI9A
4.3/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow.

First exposure to this brewery, and I'm in lust with this beer.

A: Hazy, medium golden, not much head, not much lace

S: sweet malts, cream corn, and yes, herbs. Can't put a finger on what they are yet.

T: Ugh. Awesome. sweet corn, sweet malts, although not cloying, and obviously, umm, herbs. Again, can't put a finger on it. There is something that pops in the middle of the quaff, maybe corrinder, grains of paradise (?), some light black pepper. Finishes with a citric hit, orange/tangerine.

M: Very light body, medium carbonation.

D: Perfect beer for times you just don't want anything heavy, or over complex. Refreshing as hell, tough not to take down in several quaffs. Kudos for the brewery to try something light bodied, but just plain good.

KI9A, May 19, 2009
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Northern Lights Ale from South Shore Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.