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Alpha Session - Drake's Brewing Co.

Alpha SessionAlpha Session

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

147 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 147
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.84%


Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  3.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: largadeer on 11-30-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 147 | Reviews: 54 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Beer Belly

A - Slightly cloudy yellow/orange colour a thin layer of off white head.

S - Citrus, pine, tropical fruit, honey.

T - Sharp bitterness with juicy grapefruit, pine and orange zest flavours and a touch of honey sweetness in the background.

M - Light body. Oily and sticky. Light carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 12:39:27 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
Goblinmunkey7

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Very slight haze on a solid gold color. Head is bright-white and drops to a super thin collar. Wisps of a cap. Not much really. Moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Straight from the pour it's Simcoe. Bitter oily pine. Citra pulls next with a nice hit of mango and tangerine. Some dank weed. Herbal with a big punch of citrus as well. Malts are light and bready. Slightly, every so slightly sweet. Dry-hopped for days. Bitter and fruity.

Taste: So very light, but hoppy as can be. Dry-hop explosion. Oily pine needle, straight bitterness, tangerine, mango, and grapefruit. Pith. Even some mint in the back. Malts are hyper light. Some fruity sweetness. Some toasted elements with a light bready thing. So very easy. Pale malts. Some cracker.

Mouthfeel: Light pushing toward medium body with a moderate carbonation. Clean and super easy drinking.

Overall: Prime session numero uno.

Just send me more of this. I will be your friend.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2013 21:39:12 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of writerLJBerg
writerLJBerg

Oregon

3.04/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap at Apex

A: Dull copper color with a crisp bubbly white head.

N: Lots of pineapple and grapefruit. Some pine and earth, though I'd call this fairly non-descript.

T: The taste is moderately bitter with a light sweetness. There's not much to say about this other than that it's clean.

M: Light and moderately sticky.

O: A decent quaffer. Not something I'd order very often (and I had some high hopes for it, because a 3.8% session beer is a great thing), but it does work to refresh the palate.

Serving type: on-tap

07-09-2013 15:07:09 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a semi-hazy, light golden color with an off-white, near 2 finger head. Fair retention, giving way to a thin but everpresent film of bubbles across the top. Small, spotty lacing with good stick.

Smell - Strong citrus aroma. Orange essence and grapefruit. Moderate pine. Light bready notes sit beneath.

Taste - Strong hop character from start to finish. Grapefruit and orange pith bitterness. Hints of pine follow shortly. Light, but noticeable bready malt presence. Finishes with an orange rind bitter quality.

Mouthfeel - Light in body with crisp, lively carbonation. Goes down smooth and easy before a semi-dry finish.

Overall - An aptly names brew, Alpha Session clocks in at 3.8% but kicks like your classic West Coast IPA hop bomb. Lots of strong citrus flavor presented in a light, refreshing body. Somewhat reminiscent of Deschutes Twilight and Widmer Citra Blonde. Good summer brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2013 01:11:17 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of PhilDaBrewer
PhilDaBrewer

Indiana

3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Let me start out with what this beer is not: It is not a great IPA. It's too light in, well everything, to be a great IPA. Light bodied, light hoppy taste, light hoppy aroma. Light. It is however a very good SESSIONABLE IPA.
For a beer that's under 4% ABV, it has a TON of all the above. Citrus hop aroma, citrus hop taste, nice finish. In fact, it's actually kind of amazing. How do they pack so much flavor into such a light beer? If you want a great IPA, try something else, if you want a beer that you can drink all day without getting completely snookered, you can't do much better than this.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 01:19:52 | More by PhilDaBrewer
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken

New York

4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: into a pint, golden beer with a few fingers of whitish head; foam persisted all the way down, but the cap was alittle scummy-looking; some lace arms

S: wet and toasted grains, herbal and floral hops, bright yeastiness

T: way more flavorful than I expected - follows the nose insofar as the malts and hops; some toasty flavors, nice herbal suggestions, very nice bitterness level

M: light, brisk, crisp, fuzzy/sparkly carbonation, drying finish

O: I do not session drink, but got this thanks to jdhowe, and I wasn't really expecting much. A really nice beer. Very drinkable ('natch), and a well-rounded pale ale - the malts, hops, and yeasts meld perfectly.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2013 21:37:44 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of flayedandskinned
flayedandskinned

California

4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 5/22/13
poured into the Sierra Nevada/Dogfish IPA glass

Appearance: (4.25)
Pours a crystal clear blond with a sizable, 3 fingers tall off white head. The head has great retention and leaves a nice web of lacing behind as it slowly recedes.

Aroma: (4.5)
Positively bursting with very bright and astringent tropical fruit; kiwi, peach, passion fruit, mango and of course, grapefruit. There is a moderate pine-y earthiness that adds some welcomed depth and contrast to the very tropical centric hop aroma. Underneath the juicy hops, there is a faint cracker-like malt presence.

Taste: (4.25)
Grapefruit and lemon peel immediately slap your palate with an accompanying note of earthy pine resin. The beer closes very dry with a kiss of a light cracker malt backbone before the long, lingering and very nuanced, bitter hop finish. Lively and very refreshing.

Mouthfeel: (4.5)
Crisp, light body with moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: (4.5)
A phenomenal, refreshing ale that packs in a ton of hop expression and flavor in a session-able ABV format. I do wish that the tropical notes that are found in the nose were carried over a bit more in the flavor profile, but over this is a Hop Head's dream of a session ale. Crisp, hoppy and refreshing, this is about as close to hop soda as one can get.
Highly recommended

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2013 05:28:30 | More by flayedandskinned
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad I nailed a single bottle of this recently - I wanted to see what all the fuss was about around here. I can't recall having a beer this low in ABV in a long time. Poured into a nonic pint glass out of a 12oz bottle.

Pours a very pale amber color, clear as they can be, with large patches of bubbles that eventually disperse and scatter about upward in random ways. About 3 fingers worth of head top the glass, and eventually descend to about a half finger of foam, which is pretty good considering what this is working with. Good retention. Barely any lacing. Looks like a solid rendition on the traditional British session style, only with an American twist.

The initial aroma consists of extremely bright, resinous hoppy phenols that I know Drake's for, ranging from pine, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, but that surprisingly goes away quickly. At first it's highly present, but I was surprised how much this changed over the course of 15 minutes. From the dried citrus flavor, it turns into a faded lemon/orange peel combo that melds with a light, biscuit-y graininess that is warm, albeit dull in comparaison to the initial burst of hops. Feels faded and empty over time. Barely any substance to the malts at hand. Sort of disappointing.

The flavor does luckily have a lot more going for it, and it's mainly due to the malt and grain profile being far more accentuated here. There's a flavor of light cereal grains, lightly toasted barley, and slight earthiness awash with huge amounts of lemon peel, limes, and perhaps a touch of grapefruit. Even though this is 50 IBUs, I can barely notice the hop pungency. The flavors balance together well, and also benefit from the touch of sweetness from the alcohol, but something feels... Empty, flavor wise. I realize this is meant to be an easy drinking, authentic session beer, but I honestly feel this could be far more flavorful. It lacks stickiness from the hop resins, and I feel that if they opted for a more toasted, barley flavor that the pale golden variety, it'd be even closer to whatever they would be trying to go for here.

This does seem like a tricky beer to make, and with its good carbonation and solid mouthfeel, this never is a chore to drink, and indeed, the lightness with the slightly interesting hop profile makes this an ideal warm weather beverage. But I think it's too delicate for the style, and it loses a lot of initial gas way too fast right at the beginning. Quaffable, but not the most memorable Drake's offering.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2013 05:03:12 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of Fatehunter
Fatehunter

Oregon

3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a nice looking finger and half of head on a hazy straw colored body with lot of bubbles.
The aroma is grain with some lemon and mandarin.
The taste is moderately bitter with a good malt to it without the sweetness.
It has a softer crisp texture with moderate carbonation.
Pretty nice.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2013 03:17:55 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of jdhowe
jdhowe

California

4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 05/06/13.

A: Pours a slightly cloudy golden color with a thin bubbly white head. A little cloudy, but otherwise very nice.

S: Smells strongly of piney and citrusy hops. The nose is much bigger than the 3.8abv "session" quality would suggest. Probably one of the best smelling low-abv beers I've had.

T: Strong in flavor, but really only in bitterness. Sure, it's a "NorCal Bitter." For only 50 IBUs I did not expect this to be nearly as bitter as it was, however, and I really would have loved a little more flavor from the hops to show through. This beer is less than a month old, so I doubt that it has lost its hoppy flavors, so I'm left concluding that it never had them in the first place. I expected very little malt flavor due to the low ABV, but the lack of hop flavor is a little shocking given the packaging emphasis on their dry-hopping. A bit of a let-down after the nose. Not bad, but I'm not excited to finish the rest of the 4-pack.

M: A nice, smooth, well carbonated, and highly drinkable beer. Very good session beer feel, but nothing special.

O: A nice beer. It smells fantastic, but I really wish the taste had followed the nose more closely.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2013 05:32:57 | More by jdhowe
Photo of KevT
KevT

California

4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had the beer both at the brewery and around town and have to say this beer tastes and smells way better when served at Drake's. This observation makes me think that this nice hoppy session beer probably is best when it is fresh and has been handled delicately.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2013 03:15:46 | More by KevT
Photo of popery
popery

California

3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Pours a light gold. It looks like there's a bit of haze in there, but it might be my imagination. Decent white head. Fine bubbles. Little lacing, decent retention. The aroma is crackery pale malt with lemon-pine-floral hops. It's a nice, bright hop flavor. A tad lighter than I'd like, but it's a minor complaint, and I'm probably expecting a bit much from a 3.8% abv beer. The taste is fresh and light. Just a touch of sugary malt sweetness but it's dry and refreshing, overall. Good floral pine hop flavor in the taste. Carbonation is normal. Light on the palate. Solid session beer. I just wish that it was available year-round and a bit cheaper.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2013 05:36:22 | More by popery
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero

Texas

4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

This pours an amber tinged golden color with foam that rapidly dissipates. I get an aroma of lemony pine, citrusy hops upfront with just a hint of biscuit rounding out the finish. It tastes of lemony pine and a light biscuit note. Dryly bitter. It’s thinly bodied yet crisp and full flavored. A true sessionable beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2013 09:03:41 | More by elNopalero
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.29/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pale amber ale with a small white colored head.

Smells hoppy with a strong grapefruit scent. Smells mostly of citrus and willow tree.

Starts out dry and mildly bitter. Pretty much an English Mild made with northwestern style hops. The result is basically a low alcohol West Coast IPA.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall and OK beer. Probably not buy another 4 pack of this though.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2013 18:25:48 | More by Zorro
Photo of gpogo
gpogo

California

3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- Lightly hazed clear deep yellow body with a small white head.

A- Fruity hop aroma. Grapefruit and peach and an enjoyable sweetness.

T- Moderate bitterness throughout, but not overpowering. That same aroma is present in the flavor with a nice slight sweetness. At first I was concerned it was a tad on the light side, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

M- Very light body and light to medium carbonation.

D- This beer is great for those warm days where you want to have a few beers, but don't want to spend the day drunk.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2013 00:56:24 | More by gpogo
Photo of Offa
Offa

California

3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a fairly good bitter, unusually good character for an American beer at this low abv, but not up to great English bitters.

Gold, slightly hazy, it has a medium off-white head soon thinning to ring.

Aroma is grapefruit, peach, hay.

Taste is light mineral, grapefruit, bread dough, light juicy sweetness with balancing grapefruit-rind bitterness. Aftertaste is a little too bitter, but not heavily so.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 19:19:09 | More by Offa
Photo of kaseydad
kaseydad

California

3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this bomber up for $6.99 at Whole Foods. Let's see...

Pours a pretty clear straw yellow pour with a decent amount of white foam on the top. Just sitting there staring back at me.

The aroma is light pineapple, nectarine, a touch of malt and sweet grapefruit. Really likeing this.

Guess I now know why they call this a bitter Nor Cal ale. Huge carbonated sip with a bubbly sensation bursting in the mouth. Bready, malty and yes...bitter. Hops are definitely generous and there is an overwhelming feeling that I am sucking on a grapefruit rind every sip. Well done.

Overall the price is a little steep for my liking but this a monster flavored ale for 3.8%. If you like a bitter , lightly malty ale then this is for you. Would like to see this in six packs...or hell...even four packs.

Nicely done.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2012 00:46:45 | More by kaseydad
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. From notes.

A: Pours a golden-copper body. It looks similar to their IPAs, but with less head retention.

S: This reminds me of some cask ales I had in London; they seem to have nailed the aroma. Dry grains and crackers make up the malt backbone; hops show a decidely West Coast influence of pine and citrus.

T: Bread and toasted malt; they are taken over by pine and a mild citrus flavor. Solid, but nothing that blows me out of the water. I'd classify this as an American Pale Ale (due to the hops used) rather than an English Bitter, but that's probably a handwavy argument.

M: Light-bodied. This hides the alcohol well. Nice and refreshing.

O: What kills this beer for me is the price. We're conditioned to expect ingredients to cost more for higher-gravity beers; they should, therefore, cost less for lower-gravity beers. And if Hermitage can release a sour for $3 / bomber, Drake's can surely do better than the $7 they're asking for this. Count me out.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2012 07:23:43 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On draught at zeitgeist, Alpha Session is clear gold with a small white collar leraving no lace.

Smell is skunky, piny hops. Pretty dank.

Tatse is also all hops. As evidenced by the abv, there very little malt, a little cracker.

Mouthfeel is on the thin, light side. Dry.

Drinkability is good, which is the point. Hop fix without the strenght of an IPA. Well done.

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2012 02:10:09 | More by ccrida
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wheee!! Hit me with your best hops!! Wow. This is a what?? You can make a "pale ale" this flavorful at such a low abv? Good lord, man.

This is straight up hop juice. I mean, just put those hops in a tea bag and steep it in some water already. A blast in your mouth that, somehow, remains a step below obnoxious and overbearing. As it warms, it gets extremely pleasant and sublime. This is, by far, the greatest session ale I have had to date. And add on top of that it's a "pale ale." (If this is a pale ale, I'd be very interested in what an IPA would be like, by these standards.)"

I don't really feel like searching for adjectives on this one. I just want to end this review and get back to the half pint I have left of it.

This is an amazing beer. The intensity might make it a sipper for some, but overall, this is one that would be worth trekking many miles for. Give it a minute to settle down and just sip and enjoy. Unbelievably amazing. This is why the tickers tick and the beer nerds hunt; to find the ones like this.

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2012 05:07:39 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of BennyL1
BennyL1

Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to schwartzoid - 22oz bottle into a standard pint. No freshness info that I could see.

This session brew pours a good copper color with a thin white head that doesn't stay around very long. Some lacing on the glass but nothing to remarkable.

Nose is slightly malty with some good hop aroma in the background. Hops are mostly of the citrus variety with a hint of pine.

First taste is that of citrus hops with a nice amount of bitterness. Some bready malt undertones add a pleasant touch to the beer. Very tasty for a lower ABV brew. The mouthfeel is really nice as well. The carbonation is lively with a lighter body that makes it supremely drinkable.

This is how a session beer should be done. Low alcohol without sacrificing flavor. Really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2012 01:48:26 | More by BennyL1
Photo of macrosmatic
macrosmatic

Florida

4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to eyebereej for this one!! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into CCB pint glass.

A: Pours a clear gold color. This was a good bit of visible carbonation and forms a moderate white head.

S: Dank, earthy stank, weed, grassy hops, some sweat & garlic hops, with a background of citrus & pine hops. Some cracker malt aromas also.

T: Taste follows nose well - dank barnyard, garlic (not in a bad way), some lemon, nice yeast flavor.

M: Thin mouthfeel but expected given the style & ABV, with good tingly carbonation. Has only a mild bitter hang.

O: This is the best "out of the blue" beer I've had for a long time. Never heard of it, went into it with no expectations. Can't really seem to get a lot of English Bitter qualities from it, but nevertheless I really really like this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2012 04:09:56 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of litheum94
litheum94

California

4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Reviewed 6/25/12.

Bright, slightly hazy, golden body. Bone white head is very active; it bubbles up then fizzles out very quickly, leaving a faint cover.

Dry grains, very crackery. Aromas of pine and citrus, and some faint tropical fruit.

Dry grain malt profile. Tropical fruit sweetness. Juicy grapefruit and a dry, pine bitterness. Bitterness is strong, but it is nicely restrained and leaves the mouth quickly.

This is a great example of a session beer, with just enough complexity to keep you interested. My only real complaint is the price. $6.99 for a bomber of less than 4% ABV beer is just a little much. This needs to be in six packs to be a true session beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 23:07:59 | More by litheum94
Photo of beagle75
beagle75

Iowa

4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip pint glass.

A: Clear, medium golden color with less than one finger of white foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass and scattered solitary bubbles rise in the column.

S: Mostly hops of moderate intensity for style; floral and mixed citrus qualities dominate, but some green plant stem is also detectable.

T: Begins dry, with distinct English malt that is bready, ashy, and intensely toasty. Early hop aromatics are herbaceous and slightly dank. While acidity is very mild into the middle, sharp minerality is distinctive. Hop flavors yield some spicy herbaceous notes before the mildly bitter finish that is most affected by some crisp and dry pale malt. Echoes of Nelson Sauvin hops linger late, giving the aftertaste a bright vinous tint.

M: Thin viscosity, wet ans slightly acidic on the palate, with brisk carbonation.

D/O: Drake's has been quietly generating a buzz about their hoppy pale ales over the last few years, but this beer's most remarkable feature is is its standout Marris Otter malt quality. It reminds of how the malt bills of Founder's pale ales frequently outdo their fine hop qualities. If it were categorized as an APA then it would get a 4 in taste, but as an American interpretation of an English bitter, it rates higher.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 20:45:03 | More by beagle75
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice slighlty hazy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, little fizzy white head, with some minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a nice hop note, slight citrus/pine notes. The taste is very nice, slightly malty, very nice hop note, with some citrus and pine notes. Medium body, very nice bitter/dry finish. Over all this is a very tasty brew for under 4% ABV, especially the hop/bitter/citrus notes. Way to go Drake's. Thanks Bill for the chance to try this one out.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2012 19:23:14 | More by Wasatch
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Alpha Session from Drake's Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.