Alpha Session - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alpha SessionAlpha Session

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

187 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 187
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 17
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: largadeer on 11-30-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 187 | Reviews: 59
Reviews by ipa247:
More User Reviews:
Photo of warriorsoul
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado (SF) 8/4/11. Served in a standard pint glass.
Light golden in color with a full finger of bright white head...thin lacing.
Citrus aroma in the nose....very impressed with the fruity bouquet here.
Awesome flavor for such a low abv brew. Grapefruit citrus with a mild biscuit malt backbone. Blown away by how tasty this "session" offering can be.
Super clean in the finish, dry with the hops being well pronounced for a low gravity offering. Carbonation is perfect.
If I had access to this one year-round, I would never grow tired of it....just an incredible, highly quaff-able beer.

Photo of PorterPotty
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sure do love the time a year when Alpha Session is available. As somebody who appreciates a low ABV beer, this hoppy monster is one of my favorites.

Appearance- Yellowish Gold

Aroma- Pine and some tropical fruits

Taste- Piney, but not overwhelmingly. Subtle carbonation.

Drinkability- I can slam it or sip it, either way I love it.

Photo of ehammond1
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

Thanks for opening this with me, baybassboy!

Clear light amber and copper in color with a moderately sized light khaki colored head that eventually leaves irregular dots and spots of lacing down the glass. Very pretty and appropriate.

A full and complete aroma, especially for a pale ale of this (lack of) magnitude. There's good amounts of grapefruit and citrus zest present, some bread, and a hint of caramel. Very nice.

The flavor too is quite nice, and as the name suggests, this is incredibly drinkable. A nice balance of citrus, earth, pine, and sweetness combine for a remarkably easy drinking low-ABV pale ale.

Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Crisp and disappearing.

!ADELAIDE!

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very faint dark yellow at Father's Office, thin wispy head. Aroma was amazing, high, fresh hops, comes off even better given the bmc esque appearance from this one. Equal parts citrus and pine to it. Maybe a little more pine.

So much taste up in this beer, I'm really loving all of these uber hoppy yet relatively light beers. All the rage hops, citra, simcoe and amarillo probably. Talk about a hot weather hophead beer. Slightest amount of crystal/pale malt to this one

Between the Bruery's hoppy sessions, Jupiter, Stone and this one, there's a handful of phenomenal low abv hoppy beers out there now. Only thing lacking is when someone is going to actually bottle these to where they can become a little more accessible and mainstream every day type beers rather than the special occasion/once in a great while beers.

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.77/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm rating this beer to the ABV (3.8%) and Style.

Ultimate session beer with big hop flavor, served at Gormet Haus in Redwood City, CA.

A - Golden orange, and vibrant. Slim to no head to speak of, but what a beauty to look at.

S&T - Dank hop smell, lemon citrus, orange and breadiness. Taste follows nose, big hop taste with lemons and oranges upfront, followed by a breadiness and firm, but not over the top bitterness in the finish.

M - Light, crisp, clean and brewed packed full of hop flavor that you could drink from morning to night. Had 4 of these in a sitting with a minor buzz. WOW. No real malt going on here but expected with the style and ABV.

O - Best hoppy session beer or beer PERIOD for that matter under 4% ABV.

Only complaint...I have seen this beer in bottles and I refuse to pay $6.99 for a bomber with the likes of bigger IPAs and DIPAs out there at the same price. I understand not apples to apples with that comment, but I feel this should be 6-packed and sold near $9-$11. Afterall, what session beer only comes in bombers if it's meant to be sessioned???? Think about it...

Photo of BennyL1
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Photo of nickd717
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Beachwood BBQ.

Pours a great clear golden color from the tap with a one finger white head.

Herbal and citrusy hop aroma along with a little bit of sweet pale malt.

The flavor is straight-up hop water for the most part...and I like it! Supposedly this is around 3% ABV, so it makes sense that it's not terribly malty. Just a touch of pale malt.

Rather light-bodied, making it really drinkable, and very crisp. A nice concept beer.

Not sure where to classify this, but I'd drink it again. Would be good on a hot day.

Photo of flayedandskinned
4.39/5  rDev +12%
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

Photo of dodgerrigo
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the crew at Drakes for makin a hoppy beer I could
Enjoy and drive home after 4 of them.

Lots of Citra hops in the aroma which sets you up
for an IPA but surprise this great tastin beer is under 4%

Really great session beer, if you like west coast IPA's
try this one, just dont expect finishing kick.

Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Drake's Barrel House, cask pint at Beer revolution.
Review from written notes.

Bright gold with sharp clarity, on cask it was slightly hazy. Thin layer of white foam, visible carbonation rising.

Dank resiny hops, light sweet citrus, tangerine. Tropical flavors, citrusy orange and grapefruit, grassy and resiny, with some pale malt surfacing in the middle. Moderately bitter. Flavor dissipates quickly. Light bodied as an APA should be, a little thin and reminiscent of local favorites Daisy Cutter and Gumballhead as far as the 'light mouthfeel' to 'hop ratio' goes. Ample carbonation and certainly not watery. A tasty hop fix and sunny day quencher.

Photo of adsomers
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap and in a bottle.

A - Straw color, lively carbonation produces a decent head which subsides to a flat surface after a minute or two. Just think diet coke WRT head retention.

S - Smell is dominated by dank nuggy hop aromas, with a backdrop of citrus and a faint waft of pine. While I love intensely hoppy beers, I am not a fan of the "dank" thing. But they don't lose any points for that. The aroma comes through very well.

T - Tatse seems to pull the veil off the hop flavors that are usually blended in with malt character i.e. subtle grassy and vegetal notes. This along with the dank foresty hop character are what this beer tastes like to me. No malt character whatsoever. Probably as close as you can get to carboned hop tea.

M - Thin and unremarkable. Lively carbonation makes me think of seltzer.

D - Yeah, you can suck down a lot of this beer, but it's not as enjoyable as an equivalently hopped pale ale or IPA. In other words I'd rather drink 12 oz. of Aroma Coma than 22 oz of this.

O - Overall it's a very well exectued hoppy session beer, but I think they could have gotten away with adding something to bring back the body. Also I think the "dank" thing doesn't work well all by itself. Maybe if they had focused on the tropical fruity hops I'd be a lot happier with it.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of nataku00
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into at tulip glass. Bee pours a slightly hazy golden color with a finger of loose bubbly head that quickly dissipates to nothing. No lacing, but plenty of fine carbonation slowly rising to the surface.

Nose is grapefruit, orange, pine, a touch of herbal aroma. Very aromatic for such a low abv beer. As it warms, a bit of the malt comes through, grain and biscuit sweetness.

Taste follows the nose. Hop flavors initially, grapefruit and orange, pine and herbal marijuana. A touch of biscuit malt sweetness mid tongue, finishing dry with lingering hop flavors.

Light body and pleasantly carbonated. Very easy to drink and tasty.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Gourmet Haus Staudt.

The body is light copper with golden highlights. It's topped by a frothy white head that leaves sheets of lacing; head retention is excellent.

The nose has a huge hop presence initially; pine, grapefruit and orange. There's a light biscuity malt character lending some balance.

There's an equally huge hop profile on the palate. Simcoe seems dominant, lending flavors of pine and grapefruit. For supposedly being hopped like a DIPA, this is very balanced. There's plenty of bitterness, but it never becomes astringent. Malt is barely noticed; surprisingly, it comes through more in the aroma. The beer is dry from start to finish, and supremely quaffable. Drake's can be hit or miss, but this is a very impressive offering.

Photo of RyanK252
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours golden yellow with an off white head

S: Citrus hops and a little malt sweetness.

T: Citrus hops, orange with a little sour lemon and grapefruit, a touch of pine, and backed with just enough light malt. Clean finish.

M: Light body, light carbonation.

O: I'm not crazy about session IPAs in general and overall there's really nothing super special about this beer. That being said, it is quite drinkable and serves a purpose as a very sessionable beer.

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Beachwood BBQ 12/23/10 (from notes):

Pours a hazy, light orange-yellow with a moderate white head with some lace. Smell is dominated by the Citra (tropical fruits) and Simco hops. Taste is hoppy bitter with a dry finish. Mouthfeel is slightly thin with a resiny slickness. Overall, it's certainly a "session" able offering with just enough 2 Row and Crystal 15 malts to balance out the alpha acids. Quite enjoyable amoungest all of the other big ABV stouts today.

Photo of Zorro
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Photo of jjh19
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Golden yellow and very clean looking. A good looking beer.

Smell: A nice whiff of mild, crisp hops.

Taste: Hmmm. Disappointing. Just hit flat and card-boardey on my first 2 or 3 tastes. And it didn’t get better from there. Everything was muted and stale tasting. Hopefully just not a great bottle.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied.

Drinkability: This one didn’t have it for me - I could not recommend. My tasting history with Drake’s is solid. I probably just didn’t have a great example of this beer. I’m sure my next Drake’s will be terrific.

Photo of Nugganooch
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes taken from Saturday – 06-23-12
*22oz bomber to standard pint glass

A: Pours a fizzy Yella Beer! Super transparent burnished light gold color. Real effervescent yet only yields a tiny thin off white cap with low retention and not much by way of any cling.

S: Smell is just bursting with grapefruit, gooseberry, lime peels, and some evergreens. A killer nose packed with fruity hops. A suggestion of crackery malt. Aromas resurface with every sip. Really amazing stuff.

T: Tastes offers up some real zesty hops. Lemon-lime and grapefruit pith with a bit of emphasizing pine essence. Malt makes a cameo appearance with a light honey-cracker presence. Brings just the slightest inclination of breads to the overall brew. There is an intense level of bitterness and no alcohol to report. A slight tartness in the end. Overall a step down from the nose but real tasty. Not very ESB-like if you ask me. More of an APA here.

M: Very thin and light body that feels a bit watered down which is as to be expected. Crisp carbonation and a super dry finish.

D: A true sessions brew that is chalked full of hoppy goodness. Delivers on the name for sure with some nice Citra highlights. You can literally drink this one all day long. I think I crushed the entire 22oz in about oh 20 minutes. Actually had me kind of missing the “beer” at times.

They should call this Hop Water!

Photo of jdhowe
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of womencantsail
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at Beachwood

A: The pour is a light copperish color with a small white head and some sticky lacing.

S: Man, lots of really great hop aromas. Juicy citrus fruits like grapefruit, tangeringes, and oranges. There's a light pine aroma to it and some underlying bread/biscuit malt.

T: Such an intense flavor for a low gravity beer. An intensely fresh hop flavor of grapefruit and tangerine. Plenty of pine and citrus peel bitterness with just the slightest malt flavor.

M: The body is light with a lively carbonation that helps bring out the big hop flavors.

D: One of the best low gravity beers I've ever had. So easy to drink and amazingly flavorful.

Photo of PerHops
4.97/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is absolutely amazing. The only thing I can knock it for is that they call it a "light" IPA. false advertising. It had a pale, cloudy, yellow color. Smell was piney and skunky. Taste was banana, pine sap and skunk weed with a perfect bitter finish. I hope they bottle this offering ASAP as it would be a regular in my fridge, no question.

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Alpha Session from Drake's Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.