Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Alpha Session - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alpha SessionAlpha Session

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

59 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 59
Hads: 189
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 11.47%
Wants: 16
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 59 | Hads: 189
Photo of PerHops
4.97/5  rDev +23.9%
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. (348 characters)

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.77/5  rDev +19%
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... (1,105 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.72/5  rDev +17.7%
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. (1,032 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
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. (832 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
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. (659 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (762 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8/5/2011

64oz growler poured into a snifter. Thanks to AP for this. 

A: Burnished honey gold with two fingers of froth. Lots of scattered lacing.

S: The hops are impressively aromatic, very bright with abundant citrus. The nose is of mango, orange, peach, grapefruit,  and a little pineapple. Very impressive. Very floral as well with  saltine cracker malt lingering beneath.

T: Orange, grapefruit, and tangerine, with a smooth low bitterness. Really nice hop flavor. Malt is light and biscuity. Smooth, crisp, clean, and hoppy finish.

M: Light body with upper medium carbonation. Dry, sticky, and crisp mouthfeel.

Overall: Delicious and insanely drinkable. Really good stuff. (685 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.49/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a hazy light gold with a 1 finger head of foam and does well with the lacing.

The smell....well...the aromas have to be experienced to be believed. Huge hoppiness, noticed as soon as the cap came off. Grapefruit, tropical fruit, pine, it's a symphony of all things hoppy and could be the best smelling hop forward brew I've ever had. Wow!

Taste wise, the grapefruit and tropical fruitiness is up front followed closely by pine. I know there's malt in here but it doesn't make much of an impression on my palate. Not needed in this case, I think. It's drinking wonderfully.

The body is a bit thin though I expected that happening because of the very low abv this beer brings to the table. A small price to pay for such a delicious brew. This is outstanding, imho, and I'm glad I have more bottles to enjoy.

Thanks to G and Bine & Vine for the opportunity! (870 characters)

Photo of nataku00
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
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. (648 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Served a clear golden-orange color with a thin finger of frothy white head. The head faded quite quickly leaving behind some decent lacing in the process.

S - Aroma is bursting with lots of bit citrus and pine hops. Lots of tropical fruits. There is also just a bit of sweet caramel malts.

T - The beer kicks off with lots of big citrus hop with lots of tropical fruits. There is some nice bitterness alongside. Through the middle, lots of piney hops join in alongside with more bitterness. There is some sweet caramel malts that come through alongside. The finish is full of lots of hops and bitterness that linger for quite some time.

M - The beer feels medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels smooth with a some strong dryness from all the hops.

D - Very drinkable. There is an amazing amount of hop flavor here for the relatively low abv level. One of the best session ales I have had in quite some time. (938 characters)

Photo of PorterPotty
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
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. (338 characters)

Photo of dodgerrigo
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
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. (311 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
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. (803 characters)

Photo of flexabull
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Drakes Barrel House.

Pours a bright gold color with a pretty nice head.

Aromas are mostly hoppy, floral, resiny, and with some citrus. Mostly notes of oranges, lemons, and mangos. Very nice. There is also a doughy character too.

Taste is doughy, bready, slightly sweet and creamy up front. Beer finishes with lots of nice hop flavors, light bitterness, pine, resin, and some sharp grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with plenty of body, but not heavy at all.

Overall, this is an excellent hoppy session beer. This would be a perfect beer to have a keg of for a summer party. This is tasty, yet super drinkable. (627 characters)

Photo of flayedandskinned
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
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 (1,334 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
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. (601 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (953 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a medium white head that disappears quickly. Scent is straight up marijuana. Dank as hell. Fresh hop aromas with a lot of citrus. Taste is just as bitter and hoppy as I was hoping this little 3.8 beer could be. So crisp and refreshing with lovely hop and citrus flavors. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Drinkability is very high. Overall, this a a fantastic session beer! It's amazing they can pack this much flavor into this beer. We need MORE beers like this! (499 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (530 characters)

Photo of KevT
4.21/5  rDev +5%
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. (267 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (557 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Chris. Thanks, dogg! A 3.8% highly-hopped beer? Yes please.

Pouring a hazy orange with a dense, off-white head that recedes to a ring rapidly, I'd be lying if I said I'd never seen a nicer looking beer. The nose, though, is rather excellent. A big Simcoe-hop nose is present, fruity, pungent and refreshing with a blend of , tangerines, lemons, a little pine and some melon. A little bit of chalk is also present (also from the Simcoe, I think). The blend of Citra and Simcoe is enjoyable, with the CTZ adding the pungency. I *think* there's some Amarillo in there too. Hopped to this level,the malt is pretty much covered up. Excellent stuff.

The palate opens with a mild bitterness, a little grassy and vegetal but mostly grapefruit-rich. This is immediately followed by a big hop flavor with citrus (tangerines, oranges), a little pine, and that classic Simcoe blend of fruit,pine and pungency. The malt character is non-existent, with neither the Maris Otter nor the Crystal-45 noticeable. This, actually, is to the beer's detriment, as it leaves nothing linking the flavor hops and the medium-high carbonation. Rather crisp, the finish is clean, bitter and moderately fruity with grapefruit and pine. Light in body and despite being a little too carbonated for my palate, this does live up to its name. Given the low ABV, the overall score deserves an extra 0.5. Highly recommended, though this is most definitely NOT an English bitter and is closer to an American Bitter (think Bitter Brewer etc) (1,516 characters)

Photo of beagle75
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (1,294 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +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. (664 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.17/5  rDev +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. (473 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Alpha Session from Drake's Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.