Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Session Fest - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Session FestSession Fest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

83 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 83
Hads: 190
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 10.68%
Wants: 14
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 09-30-2011

According to Full Sail Executive Brewmaster, Jamie Emmerson, “Session Fest is a Czech-style strong lager called polotmavé or literally “light dark or semi-dark.”
Brewed with 2 Row Pale malt, Munich malt, Caramel malt and Wheat malt, and hopped with a blend of Glaciers and Cascades.

6.2% ABV
26 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Session Fest Alström Bros
Reviews: 83 | Hads: 190
Photo of elNopalero
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours a burnt sienna color. Malty molasses aromas, lightly hopped. Light, bitter, but not really all that enjoyable. Thin finish. The malt profile is out of alignment. It doesn’t hold up to warming—the spices/flavoring goes out of balance and comes off harshly. At least the stubby bottle is cute.

 306 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Best by 12/25/11.

Pours a clear brown with a 1 inch puffy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Chunky rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt/grains, bread/biscuit, and some caramel notes. Taste is of toasted malt, bread, caramel, and some spicy hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good red lager and a good alternative to spiced Winter beers. This is probably my favorite Session beer from Full Sail to date.

 622 characters

Photo of bump8628
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper-red, nearly a tawny brown. Thin, short-lasting bubbles show head retention just a tad more impressive than a soft drink. Polotmavé - never had, nor heard of the style. I'm guessing amber lager is a good enough descriptor. Some caramel, baking bread, and shortbread balance out a pleasant grassy and earthy hoppiness. Nicely brewed and clean, dryness is appreciated since this was meant to be an easy drinker. Surprisingly, Full Sail managed to capture some holiday elements in this seemingly basic red lager. It's nice to see a brewery go outside of the winter warmer/stout box for a winter seasonal. This definitely a beer that would please both craft drinkers and generic beer guzzlers alike. I think a box of 12 bottles will be making the trip to Thanksgiving dinner with me this year.

 801 characters

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper/amber. Not much for head but a good amount of foam clings around the sides of the glass. Every time I sip some more forms on the sides. Light German malty sweetness. Some hop spice as well. Biscuity malt flavor and just like the nose it finishes with some hoppy spice. Thinner side of a body but still a decent malt character.

 338 characters

Photo of Rayek
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Session Fest pours a red tinged amber with a fluffy cream cap. The foam slowly falls to a patchy quilt and leaves just a bit of lace.

Some pretty standard Red Lager stuff is going on here. Bittersweet toffee rides on top of a bed of straw. Bitterness is lemony, peppery and mild. The beer is very dry and a touch metallic in the finish.

Of the three Session beers, this is my least favorite. It has a certain generic quality to it that left me a bit flat. However, it is a decent beer. It's just not for me.

 509 characters

Photo of DirtyPenny
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz stubbie into a pint glass while watching a dismal Buffalo Bills performance against the vile Cowboys.

A: Reddish bronze with one finger of off white head that fades more quickly than the Bills' playoff hopes.

S: Caramel and pale malts with piney hops.

T: This is a pretty hop-forward brew. The pine-flavored hops mingle with the miscellanous malts and leave a mild to moderate bitterness on the tongue. Not bad.

M: Medium and kind of creamy.

O: Decent, accessible beers seems to be the notion that the Session series is built upon, and that's continued here. All in all I like their standard lager better and their black lager best. A nice, crisp lager without a whole lot to make it stand out. Seems like it'd be good to keep around in the fridge if company comes by. Not offensive or overly powerful flavorwise, but a world better than the Bills... I mean, Buds, of the world.

(Seriously, all I want is to see the Cowboys lose. I don't care to who. Is that too much to ask?)

 1,005 characters

Photo of litheum94
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11 oz stubby. Reviewed on 11/7/11.

Vigorous pour produces a big, slightly tan head, with large bubbles that fizzle out. Clear, amber-leaning-red body.

Clean, grainy lager aromas. Some spice with earthy hops.

Crisp and dry. Cracker malts with an earthiness. Some burnt caramel and spices. Some bitterness, woody and floral in nature. Slight boiled vegetable lager flavor, but not bad.

This is just like the other FS Session beers; nothing spectacular, just clean, good drinking beers. And at a great price too.

 513 characters

Photo of specksnreds
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid beer. Not much to look at with its pale amberness and lack-o-foamy-head. Smells like malt liquor with a spicy cinnamon poke in the sniffer. Smells like flowers too. Tastes tingly and bock-like: surely a dichotomy. Mouth feel belies the light color.... a bit. Weightier than expected, but by no means a tongue carpet. I picked up a single in this instance, but I'll get the 12er next time.

 394 characters

Photo of Bookseeb
3.29/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a dark copper amber having a stable head and nice lace. Smell is light thats a little grainy, roasted malt and hops. taste of grainy roasted malt with a bitter hop lasting through the aftertaste. Can't taste much of the alchohol either. Mouthfeel is medium with a good spike of carbonation. No wow factor hear, but not to bad for a red.

 350 characters

Photo of mudbug
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the retro stubby bottle with the entertaining rock paper scissors cap, which by the way has a holiday theme.Into a pilsner glass results in a pretty medium dark amber body with nice clarity a small head forms then settles into a thin cap. Bubbles continuously rise up keeping things lively, very appealing.
Aroma is a subdued huskiness with a ever so slight hop note, just what a lager should be.
Taste is pure lager, grain husk, cracker with a tint of caramel, finish has a nice bitter spiciness to it, refreshing straight forward and uncomplicated. goes down easy and quickly with a nice clean aftertaste.
Just a nice well made lager that hits all the right spots, especially the pocketbook. A real value.
Bravo Full Sail!

 733 characters

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not really sure what to expect here, it's supposed to be a lager, but it's a Czech style lager? But at the same time an American Red? I dunno. Pours almost a one finger head into my standard pint glass. The head is maybe just a hair darker than white in color. The head is pretty soapy looking, and it doesn't have the best retention, it's already almost gone. The lacing doesn't look bad, but we'll have to see how it goes once I get down to the bottom of the glass. The body is as clear as could be, like many lagers are, however I would think I red lager might have a little cloudiness to it. The only reason visibility isn't 100% is because it's darker than your average lager. I wouldn't really call the color of this beer red, it's more brown, with some orange and yellow. Almost golden in color really. Honestly the color combination is kinda ugly, but oh well. The carbonation looks a little bit under medium. The head is now gone but some nice foam is still on top of the body. Overall not an outstanding looking beer, we'll see how the lacing goes. It's not a bad looking beer, but not too great. The smell is very light, I get the red lager smell, medium malts, some hops, etc etc. Maybe a tiny bit hoppier than your average red lager? Still, it's not very hoppy. The smell is just really small, I get it's a session lager, but there just isn't much here. I maybe even get a nut smell here? I'm not sure, I'm digging for anything to comment on the smell. Really just not much going on here at all, I wish I had more to say. Overall a pretty boring, and very small smell, maybe a 3 is harsh, but I don't see any reason to give it more than that. The flavor is slightly better, for sure more potent than the smell. A little sour to start things off, maybe some adjuncts, or cheap malts. You kinda get that average sweet, sour, macro lager taste. After that comes some quality medium malts and a tiny bit of hops (I guess a decent amount if your considering it's a lager). You do kinda get that red lager taste, I little hard to describe, it's kinda a distinct malt flavor. Overall not a bad taste, but somewhat boring, a little cheap tasting, and somewhat watery. I dunno....on second thought it isn't that bad, it has some legitimate flavor to it. I don't think it deserves a 3, but at the same time I don't think it has earned a 3.5, so 3. The mouthfeel isn't bad, the carbonation is for sure higher than I thought it would be, definitely a highly carbonated beer. One might say over carbonated, but it's a lager, so it's not a horrible feature. The body is actually pretty big in your mouth, for the style that is. Not a bad mouthfeel at all for the style, may be better with a tad less carbonation though. The drinkability is actually really high for it being over 6.2%, they do an excellent job of covering up that alcohol. Overall it's pretty light, tasty enough, and surprisingly low on the alcohol taste, so it's not hard to drink. Overall on this beer, it's not bad, and maybe it deserves a 3.5 for taste, but I don't think it's quite there. It's not a bad beer, one I wouldn't mind having at a party or something, but it's just not up there with the quality beers. Not a bad beer, but not too great either.

The appearance turned out to be pretty good. The lacing was pretty patchy, but it followed me pretty much all the way down the glass. The body was kinda ugly, but that was only because of the colors. The head was...eh, not great. I'm kinda confused on how to grade this beer for appearance, maybe it deserves a 4 for the good lacing, but I'm pretty sure it's well short due to everything else.

 3,620 characters

Photo of Kinsman
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice shiny copper color with just a bit of haze. Little bit of eggshell colored head makes a brief appearance.

Toasted grain and slight caramel sweetness provide a nice malty aroma. Hint of floral hop character in the background.

Biscuits and toast alongside some caramel malty goodness make for a nice refreshing brew. Hops add just a bit to balance things out. Mouthfeel is light, crisp, and refreshing.

Overall, not a bad easy drinking beer. Flavors don't exactly 'wow' you with anything but it's still got enough going on to keep things interesting.

 567 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, tawny amber, with boatloads of streaming carbonation. The head is thin but holds nicely, yielding a sticky lace. The aroma boasts a touch of caramel, with hints of fruit and a butterscotch note.

Clean, bready malt flavor, with a mild dryness throughout. Light caramel sweetness keeps it interesting, plus there is enough bitterness at the back for balance. It's doesn't really taste like more than 6% ABV, and too bad it is because it's supposed to be session. The mouthfeel is quite nice for a lager, it has a full body with smooth carbonation, very rich.

I feel like this is what Fat Tire could be if it were a lager and a bit more robust. It's a well made beer and I like it, I just wish you really could call it a session lager. Recommended...

 758 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11 ounce stubby-twist off cap w/"Naughty/Nice" on it-Best before dating (1-7-12)...

Pours clear auburn amber, medium tan head, showing moderate retentive powers, then leaving a thicker film, collar and respectable slippery lacing.

Dark grain bread in the nose with some nuttyness.

Tasty and straight forward offering. More dark bread notes, malty sweetness, a pinch of all spice, a rye note and light dryness in the finish. Ehh....decent litle sessioner...but doesnt really do much for me.

 492 characters

Photo of alohaspicoli
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Brownish/amber with a nice, off-white head. Good retention.

S: Sweet and malty, with a light roastiness to it. Very nice balance of flavors.

T: Roasted malt with a very slight caramel/brown sugary sweetness.

M: Crisp, clean and smooth. Perfect carbonation. Not much alcohol burn.

O: I will definitely buy this again. Yet another very drinkable and enjoyable lager from Full Sail.

 438 characters

Photo of Jason
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11oz brown stubby with a freshness date.

LOOK: Tawny with a slight chill haze, great looking head.

SMELL: Caramel, toasted bread crust, herbal, clean, faint peppercorn, fresh grass.

TASTE: Fresh maltiness, toasty, rustic bread, grainy, clean palate, smooth, spice, fresh herbs, toasty finish.

A pretty kick ass edition to the Session line-up, I was a fan to begin with but to have an option even if it is seasonal is great. Bring on the lagers!!

 449 characters

Photo of rowew
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11 oz stubby bottle in 12 packs, enjoy by date clearly marked. Green and blue color scheme.

Appearance: Dark reddish amber color, average sized head with good retention.

Smell: Sweet malt, just a slight hint of roast.

Taste: Again, definitely malt dominated - but this has a nice combination of malt flavor with a bit of roast, and a slight bitter in the finish.

Overall impression: Another drinkable offering in the Session line .. this is not the most exciting beer out there, but it's a solid amber that I wouldn't mind having a few of.

 558 characters

Photo of diamondc
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: About a fingers worth of head on a really aggressive pour. Dark bronze, filtered, with a steady stream of bubbles.

S: Caramel, brown sugar, cookie dough.

T: Sugary, sticky malts dominate here, almost bordering on cloying. Subtle roasted, nuttiness flavors when warmed up. Reminds me of an Oktoberfest. Grassy, more bitter than expected hops round out at the end.

M: This beer tastes better warmed up to 50-55 degrees than straight out of the fridge. Surprised by the ABV, but the heat is well hidden.

O: A pretty good amber, nothing too complex. Paired well with a almond butter sandwich.

 597 characters

Photo of Gatch
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Reddish-brown with a thick, off-white head.

S - Sweet, lightly roasted malt. Bready with molasses, caramelized sugar, not much else.

T - Malt dominates. A bit of alcohol throughout, especially in the finish. Roasted character of the malt stands out through the finish.

M - Slight carbonation. Enjoyable to drink. Clean and smooth. Just as a lager should be.

 364 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really pretty reddish hued color to this one, nice thin off white head to it. Aroma was half and half sweet and grassy hopishness. Not bad, a good mix in a red ale.

Smooth taste, with more of the fresh hoppy feel to it, not ipa territory, but substantial enough to make it enjoyable, especially at the price. Easily the best option out of the session beers. But 6.2% = a session beer? I'm ok with that I guess, but its a little close to not being sessionable, but it hides the alcohol. Faint chocolate malt aspect to it. Chalky and nutty sometimes.

If this is an oktoberfest effort, its definitely above average.

Thanks to elrogish & Quinn for breaking these bad boys out during our cabin barleywine trip. Solid beer.

 722 characters

Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Session Fest pours a clear golden amber with a small whitish head leaving just a bit of oily foam on the glass.

The aroma has a full woodsy character, fresh, balanced and somewhat spicy.

The flavor has a nicely toasted bread bent, lightly caramel in character with the earthy, spicy hops backing things up. Hmm, this beer apparently has Cascade in it as well but the hop profile seems purely Continental, nicely balanced with a touch of bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth with just a bit of bite from carbonation.

Overall a very nice and balanced beer, very drinkable and flavorful. I'd expect a good solid beer from Full Sail and they delivered.

 673 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11 ounce bottle - at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia. Enjoy By: 12/25/11.

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber-tan body with a small, brief, near white head.

Smell: Smells of bread crusts delightfully toasted up to a golden-brown and topped with sweet, wholesome caramel and a few coarsely chopped nuts backed by a note of spicy hops.

Taste: Toasted, grainy bread with a wash of sweet, sugar-induced caramel. Some nuttiness. Zesty, spicy hops with ample bitterness to balance things out nicely. Drying, malty on the back end with a lingering spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation with some tingle present (that tells you it's working).

Overall: Now, that's a beer I've not had in a long time... a long time. Maybe it's just me, but this one reminds me of the first installment to the LTD series.

 838 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this literally as they were being unloaded on display. I was told this was the first batch arrived.

I have not had many Full Sail brews, so I didnt know what to expect. My initial impression was of high hopes. The grenade-type bottle is pretty darn cool, plus I like it when any brewery has a "series", like the Session series.

The smell was malty, and very similar to many american style fest lagers. It pours a nice autumn brown, little head, but nice carbonation. The carbonation actually made this fall brew pretty refreshing.

The flavour was great. Slightly hoppy and nutty...a really unique characteristic. The higher than normal alcohol was noticeable, but enjoyable. This is probably up there as one of my favorite fest beers and I would buy this again.

 772 characters

Photo of wingman14
4.06/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice reddish brown with a frothy off white head that sticks around. Smell is mostly malt with some yeast and subtle spice notes. The taste starts with the malt and moves into the yeast, and has a nice subtle spice finish. The aftertaste has some of the malty notes with a subtle sweetness. A nice medium mouthfeel adds the the depth of the beer, giving a thicker style. Nice carbonation and an easy drinker. These session beers are solid beers, all with subtle nuances and great flavor. Nothing huge and over the top but done right.

 540 characters

Photo of Reidrover
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11 oz stubby from a 12 pack. Winco, S.Salem. $9.98 Dark red amber colured ale with a goodly sized, frothy off white head. Fine malty,hay,bready aromas slight hint of lemony hop Malty taste..hint of chocolate and spices..not sure were i get it from but there is a definate peppery spiceiness. OK on the palate..has a rather evident alcohol graininess right at the end..but its not that bad. Nice beer at a good price. Another fine "Session" offering

 448 characters

Session Fest from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
83 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.