Session Beer Day Redux—4 New IPAs That Deliver Flavor At Low ABV

We’re big fans of big beers and consume quite a few high-ABV monsters, but we have an equal appreciation for beers that pack large flavor into refreshingly drinkable packages.

Jamie Bogner Apr 8, 2014 - 3 min read

Session Beer Day Redux—4 New IPAs That Deliver Flavor At Low ABV Primary Image

The session beer trend is one that we wholeheartedly support, and in keeping with yesterday’s informally-designated “Session Beer Day," we wanted to share the four new session IPAs we opened to toast the anniversary of the repeal of prohibition.

Stone Brewing Co. Go To IPA

“A Vibrant Hop-Bursted Session IPA”

Go To IPA has aroma for days, and the first thing you’ll notice when opening one is the olfactory assault from the late-addition hops. It’s stunning, unexpected, and absolutely delivers a hefty dose of tropical hop goodness in the nose. On the tongue, the body is thinner than a traditional IPA (typical for this session style), but hop bitterness is clearly defined and really stands out. Is it a bit unbalanced? Sure, there isn’t much malt to balance the heavy dose of hops, but what do you expect at 4.5% ABV? Go To IPA is thoroughly satisfying not just as a “session” beer, but as beer in general.

Southern Tier Brewing Co. Farmer’s Tan

“Brewed with 2 varieties of hops and 2 types of malts”

Southern Tier delivers a bit more subtle malt balance than the others, while still presenting expected bitterness. The golden color looks like an IPA, tastes like an IPA, but at 4.6% you can enjoy more of them than your average 7% IPA. This one’s seasonal, so grab some while you can.

Odell Brewing Co. Loose Leaf

“American Session Ale”

Formerly available only in their montage 12-packs, this new entry into the session category from Odell is now available in standalone six packs. Odell Brewing Co.’s IPA and Myrcenary DIPA are go-to favorites around the office, so we opened Loose Leaf with anticipation. The color is lighter than Go To IPA, and it’s more subdued in both the hop aroma and bitterness, but not everyone is looking for that hop bomb. The hint of onion flavor has us guessing at Summit hops, but that’s an Odell trade secret. Light, pleasant, flavorful.

Boulevard Brewing Co. Pop-Up Session IPA

“American India Pale Ale built for frequent excursions”

Pop-Up has everything going for it—the most malt balance at the lowest ABV (4.3%), along with plenty of hops that have you scratching your head and wondering if this is really a “session” IPA. Boulevard has a hit on their hands, here, and we'll be stocking up for hot summer months.

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].