I’ve said it before and I can say it again without reservation, I’ve never been disappointed with a beer from Southern Tier Brewing.

Recently I wrote about their delicious Creme Brulee Imperial Stout. It’s perfection in a bottle, and always a favorite beer of mine. So I was looking forward to dipping into a gifted four-pack of Southern Tier’s French Toast Imperial Ale.

I imagined flavors of cinammon, maple and breadiness, just like the brunch staple it was modeled after. And I expected it to invoke that special lazyily relaxed feeling of a well-spread brunch. While this iteration of liquid French Toast did not disappoint, it also did not provide the flavors my taste buds had been primed for.

The aroma is tantalizing with spice, but it’s not cinnamon. No, the smell reminds me of egg nog. Nutmeg! Definitely.

I take a sip and let it slowly slide down. At first, it seems nothing like French toast. This being a strong ale (8.6 percent), it first seems a punch in the palate from alcohol. And then I wait. Ah, there it is. Upfront it is not so much French toast, but the lingering flavor is everything I find delicious about French toast – deep, warm and comforting flavors.

It’s really amazing how, once that French toast flavor establishes itself, it lingers like a Minnesota goodbye and leaves a sticky reminder on your lips. As it warmed in the glass and I let a sip linger, it tasted like a fizzy warm cola, right down to a previously hidden fruitniness – if not a Coca-Cola maybe an RC.

This is definitely a sipping beer for a lazy afternoon or evening. You really want to take your time with it, like a long brunch experience. In short, this is another truly unique offering from Southern Tier.