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Northern Lights Ale | South Shore Brewery

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Northern Lights AleNorthern Lights Ale
49 Ratings
Northern Lights AleNorthern Lights Ale

Brewed by:
South Shore Brewery
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by tavernjef on 06-01-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of dosrojos
5/5  rDev +44.1%

Photo of Skidz
4.59/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a bright crystal pale straw and sits a hazy light gold in the glass with a nice sized white head, fading to a light skim.

Smells nice and malty, plenty of sweets. Dashing of spice builds up around the nose; cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Almost pumpkin-pie like aroma. Sweet whipped topping glazes the surface....absoutely delicious.

Tastes lightly sweet up front, good malt character. Moves into a mild dosage of herbs and spices. Cinnamon, rosemary and sage all come to mind. Falls into a blend of malts and herbal hops and finshes lightly bitter with plenty of lingering spices.

Quite smooth and creamy in the mouth with soft and pleasing carbonation. Built on a medium-light body, this beer has a lot going for it.

One bottle is sucked down like a bag of candy...if it were liquid candy. Aroma is top notch and has a body that's tough to beat. I haven't had many good cream ales, but this one is a fine offering.

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Photo of deebo
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%

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.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.29/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks a million lukaski for the Brat Stop beer run.

Pours a nutty, medium amber haze. Very bubbly, straight white head that recedes rather quickly. Herbal-like sediment settles at the bottom. Grains of paradise, chammomile, and caracao orange peel are very prevelant in this lighty toasted malt nose. Along with other undefined herbs. Great hebal character to this beer. Not overwhelming or cloying. Light toasted malt gives off some light bready flavors. And the yeast adds a little fruit to the mix. Add the creamy, dry, and effervescant plate ake ths one great, sessionable cream ale.

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Photo of KI9A
4.27/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


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.

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Photo of ZAP
4.22/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The best of the South Shore lot I have tired...pours a hazy yellowish/gold similar to a hefe...excellent nose....nutmeg...ginger..cinnamon....flavor is wheat...some orange peel adds a citrus touch...creamy mouthfeel..almost has a wheat-lcracker like maltiness to it....

Very tasty and drinkable...not oversweet or spicy but loaded with flavor...like I siad the best I've had from South Shore..

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Photo of Rennpferd
4.02/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a pale straw color. It was fairly clear with very little activity. It started with a nice frothy one finger head that quickly shrank away.

It had a very subtle smell. Light undertones that mixed well. Malt with buttery aspects and a nice mild mix of some herb, perhaps lavender or something similar.

A perfectly balanced taste of buttery malt, corn adjunct and whatever that herb is (perhaps all-spice). The herbal part really cuts down the buttery taste and makes this a beer worth savoring. It had a nice light body that had an alcohol tang in the finish.

This is a really drinkable beer. Everything about it tied together well. I could sit around and drink two or three of these in a sitting.

 708 characters

Photo of MidwestBA
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of wallrock
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of Savan
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of tjkurz
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

My buddy brought one of these over for me. Bottle poured into pint glass big head, nice lacing. Yellow murky - sediment suspends. Smells citrus - lemon - clean. Tastes as advertised herb - spice highlights on an otherwise clean tasting beer. Mouthfeel lots of carb, not really creamy. This is a nice change of pace - something different - the spice wasn't overpowering so I found it very drinkable but really kept my interest. Pleasant surprise.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sun-splashed buttercup gold with a storm of fine particles swirling within. I can't think of any colorless herbs, so I must be looking at yeast. The wool white cap is small and firm and isn't the world's best lace maker. A sudsy sheet is seen on the glass opposite once the beer falls with drinking.

There's no question that 'ale with herbs added' is an accurate description. The unidentified herbs and spices don't overpower the nose, but mingle well with the beer itself. Coriander is definitely present, and I'll go with ginger and maybe even a tiny pinch of cardamom. I like the way this one smells. It's both different and good.

The same could be said for the flavor, although the underlying amber ale is nothing to shout about. Good points are a delicious mix of spices and a perfect balance between spices and beer. The only bad point is a grainy base beer that could stand a little more malty sweetness, especially if it hopes to be taken seriously as a cream ale.

Hops provide a fair amount of bitterness without providing much flavor. That's okay, Herbal Cream Ale was brewed to be a showcase for the herbs and spices anyway. I have to give South Shore credit for brewing outside the box and for pulling off a beer that most would never attempt. The flavor is growing on me as the ounces pass and I'm now comfortable choosing the taste score that popped into my head after the first sip.

The mouthfeel is decent without being a standout. More malt would fill it out even more and would give it that lush creaminess that would put it over the top. The carbonation is lightly sparkly and, in that sense, matches the zestiness of the added spices.

Prior to today, I wasn't thrilled with South Shore beer. Herbal Cream Ale is an adventurous offering that does many more things right than wrong. I had a great time with it. And so should you... provided you like coriander.

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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).

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Photo of granger10
3.84/5  rDev +10.7%
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?

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Photo of 50marathons
3.84/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very good beer. Nice balance. Love the citrus.

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Photo of emerge077
3.79/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

 741 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.79/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy pale golden tone. Slow moving carbonation noted. Very slight off white head that leaves sparse lace. Nose is really an experience. Very minty. And chocolatey. Almost like smelling mint chocolate chip ice cream. Vanilla as well. Quite sweet on the nose. Not quite as sweet on the buds as it is on the nose. There are some dry herbal leaf like tones. Maybe sage, thyme, rosemary...stuff like that. Just reminds me of herbs like that. Not saying they're all in here. A little minty and perfumey as well. Light pils like maltiness in the background. Hops provide a dryness I believe. A slight bit of a CO2 prick on the tongue. Body is about medium. A bit of an astringent aftertaste. A lingering bitterness and dryness. Not bad. Better than what I was expecting, but my opinion is that there's a little too much Herbaction going on here.

 838 characters

Photo of atone315
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of tgraven
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of murrayswine
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had my apprehensions at first, but what the hell.

Color is a basic amber gold with a mild greasy head. the spice goes right to your head and sticks hard.

The taste is mild and creamy with a lavender finish that oddly enough, is rather good.

The mouthfeel is weird the way the spice plays right with the carbonation. All in all not a bad beer to try. It's kind of girl-ish with the packaging, but that's never prevented me from drinking a beer.

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Photo of KeefD
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

 1,235 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.69/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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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.

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Photo of cokes
3.64/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Northern Lights Ale from South Shore Brewery
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 49 ratings
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