1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Alpha Session - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alpha SessionAlpha Session

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

176 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 176
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.93%
Wants: 17
Gots: 5 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: largadeer on 11-30-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 176 | Reviews: 58 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of leodarko
2/5  rDev -49.2%

leodarko, Aug 04, 2012
Photo of axeman9182
2.85/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle from afrokaze. It was poured into my Bruery tulip.

Alpha Session pours tangerine, lightening towards lemon yellow when properly backlit. Visibility through the glass is low. There's maybe a finger of white foam, and it doesn't do a ton in terms of either head retention or lacing. The nose has a strange, out of place sulfur-y aroma right out in front. I think there's a little bit of lightly citric tropical fruits appreciable as well, but sulfur is far and away in charge. Thankfully, it's much more faint in the flavor profile. There's no real malty flavor present to speak of, this one's 100% hops. The bitterness, while clocking in at just 50 IBUs, really jumps out thanks to the super light frame. There's both some pineapple and mango, and a bit of pine present in the finish. The body's very light, too light in fact for my taste, as it doesn't support or lay a foundation for the hops at all. The carbonation's nice and slightly lively though. I admire Drake's for taking a shot at brewing such a low alcohol hop bomb, but Alpha Session's light on malt to the point of tasting like straight hop juice to me, and that's not something I'm particularly looking for in a beer.

axeman9182, May 28, 2012
Photo of jjh19
2.98/5  rDev -24.4%
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.

jjh19, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of thebeeler
3/5  rDev -23.9%

thebeeler, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of drewone
3/5  rDev -23.9%

drewone, Jun 08, 2012
Photo of seeswo
3/5  rDev -23.9%

seeswo, Aug 17, 2012
Photo of jenray
3/5  rDev -23.9%

jenray, Jul 25, 2012
Photo of MrDave
3/5  rDev -23.9%

MrDave, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of Sarlacc83
3.04/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

Sarlacc83, Jul 09, 2013
Photo of mactrail
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Blonde ale with a brief flirtation of suds. Some hoppy aroma, an extremely light body, and a dissipating fizz.

Seems rather tasty for a couple of sips. Then the carbonation runs out and it tastes just bitter and a little metallic. Maybe it's meant to be served on tap, and drunk in a couple of chilling draughts.

I'm a Drake's fan, so I always try any new beer of theirs. I'm always happy to see low-alcohol beers with some flavor. However, I find it hard to call this any kind of English style, with the piney hops. More of an American Extra Pale Ale. I suppose it's not expensive as bombers go, but at $5.99 that would be over $18 a six pack, which seems extortionate for what it is.

mactrail, Jun 28, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.18/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled I brought to share at drewone’s tasting.

Pours a slightly murky honey yellow with a beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of citrus zest, grapefruit, and some slightly catty hop aromas. Taste is of malt and some earthy and citrus zest hop flavors. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer with a better smell than taste in my opinion.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

GRG1313, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of Ilovebeer1549
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Ilovebeer1549, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of jeff1973
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

jeff1973, Jul 04, 2013
Photo of Joe_Mahma
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Joe_Mahma, May 21, 2014
Photo of javi10653
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

javi10653, Jun 17, 2012
Photo of 209_beerhunter
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

209_beerhunter, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of Wowcoolman
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Wowcoolman, May 10, 2014
Photo of cmgage
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

cmgage, Jul 02, 2014
Photo of OoReFLuXoO
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

OoReFLuXoO, Jul 17, 2013
Photo of Waveoff
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Waveoff, Jun 18, 2013
Photo of Zorro
3.29/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

Zorro, May 25, 2013
Photo of Arbitrator
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
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.

Arbitrator, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of adsomers
3.35/5  rDev -15%
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.

adsomers, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of magictacosinus
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

magictacosinus, Jun 09, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Alpha Session from Drake's Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.