Par 4 is Noda Brewing Company’s low alcohol session IPA. The head is creamy and light, and the nose is very nice, with scents of grapefruit and lemon. The middle however, really lets it down for me. It is more flavorful than the average session IPA, (which is one of the drawbacks of the style, to me) but it’s very one-dimensional with powerful shot of bitter lemon and little else. This ale is brewed with oats, and a bit of that soft oaty goodness comes forward in the finish as the bitterness fades fades, and a hint of grapefruit comes through. The body is medium and the alcohol is 4.0% ABV, which is perfect for a session beer. I love NoDa, but for me, this was not one of their best, though I don’t have a lot of love for session IPAs as a style in any case, so it may be as much me as the beer.
I give it a 3.2 out of 5.
Recreation Ale is Terrapin’s session IPA. Session IPAs, for those new to the term, are designed to be drunk in greater quantities than a traditional IPA, so are lighter in body and bitterness, and have a lower alcohol content than a traditional IPA. The nose is lemony and malty, the middle is more lemon and some very light pine, and the malt comes back forward in the finish with a touch of honey flavor over just a hint of piney bitterness. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is a nice light 4.7% ABV. This is a nice, if undifferentiated session IPA.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
Session IPAs are one of the new hotness categories that are popping up everywhere, and Stone’s entry into this market is To Go IPA. In true Stone style, the cap decries light, easy-to-drink beer, so while it comes equipped with a session-style 4.5% ABV, it also has all the bold hop flavor we’ve come to expect from Stone. The nose is bright with loads of pine needles and grapefruit. The middle has pine resin, and grapefruit rind. The citrus in the finish morphs into lemon and there’s a little bit of grain that tastes like wheat. The body of this beer is light to medium as pretty much expected. This is a fun beer, but slightly incongruous, with the lighter body but the big, bold, bitter flavors. I liked it a lot, and it’s certainly different, but not really a lawnmower beer.
I give it a 4.2 out of 5.