I'm still standing... Our guide to Session IPA
So you've never tried a Session IPA…
Awesomely flavoursome Session IPAs are a lighter alternative to regular IPAs that often top out at over 6% ABV. These diminutive beers are like Oompa-Loompas – they might be small in stature, but they’re no less powerful. And they’re kind of orange coloured. However, they are more enjoyable - not to mention a whole lot less creepy - than Willie Wonka’s little tangerine-coloured helpers. But if you thought “light” meant light on flavour, then you’d be wrong. Today’s Craft Beer fans are starting to get a little more conscious about their drinking habits, which is a good thing when you think about it. But while drinking habits are changing, tastes have stayed the same: we want hops, and we want them BIG!
What is a Session IPA?
The ‘Session’ class of beers gets its name from the English term ‘to go for a session’ – a drinking-session that can take up most of your day (we REALLY DON’T condone this kind of drinking). It also gives us the term ‘sessionable’, as in “that is one sessionable beer” i.e. you could keep on drinking it without too much trouble. However, don't confuse thel with low-alcohol beers or near-beer. Session IPAs may be lighter than regular IPAs, but they still frequently reach 5% ABV.
The idea of a Session Beer – IPA, Pale Ale, Lager, etc. – is that it’s light enough to drink more than one or two pints and still be on your feet. When Craft Brewers call their Session India Pale Ales “All-Day” IPA, that’s exactly what you get – a great-tasting beer you can drink any time of day.
You might also see them described as ‘lawnmower beers’. This American term is used to describe beers that are best enjoyed ice cold straight from the fridge once you’ve finished mowing the lawn, preferably on a Saturday afternoon with the mercury touching 27°C. And what could be better than a crisp, bitter, light IPA bursting with exotic mango, papaya and citrus hops?
Sounds great! Got any suggestions?
We thought you might be curious, so we asked the HOPT team to pick out a few favourites. If you fancy checking out what Sweden’s Craft Breweries have to offer, maybe start by checking out beers like, Dugges All the Way, a Folköl IPA bursting with delicious fuzzy peach and pale malts, or Omnipollo Arzachel, full of amazing peachy hops that easily make this one of Omnipollo’s most successful beers.
The style has also gained a following in the Netherlands with great brews like Kees Session IPA. Piny, zesty Kees Session IPA is an enduring classic from one of the Netherlands most respected brewers. Alternativey, take a look at Uiltje’s Sunshine Yes Please for a fresh, fruity, bitter, unbeatable Sesh from this award-winning Dutch brewery, or even Jopen Life’s A Beach which features classic big bitter notes and a ripe exotic hops profile. All three of these breweries scooped medals at the recent Dutch Beer Challenge, so you can be absolutely sure of their quality .
Finally, a little closer to home is To Øl with their Thirsty Frontier, a Mosaic, Citra, and Simcoe Session IPA for those with a thirst for great beer and great flavours.
So what are you waiting for? With a selection this good, why not check out some easy-drinking hops magic right now…
Photos: Arissa Chatassa / UNSPLASH.COM