White Birch Hop Session Ale | White Birch Brewing

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White Birch Hop Session AleWhite Birch Hop Session Ale

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hop Session is in. Starting with a blend of west coast hops for a balanced, bitter effect. We close the session out by late hopping the beer for a nice resiny mouth feel.

Added by johnnnniee on 03-26-2011

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 269
Photo of puboflyons
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle - September 2013 batch. Sampled on October 12, 2013.

It pours an unfiltered looking hazy pale yellow with a foamy, lingering head that leaves lacing in its wake as it diminishes.

The nose is greeted with floral and earthy hops in a vibrant fashion and a kind of meaty fruit-like character as well as the White Birch house yeast.

The body is about medium with a kind of resin-like texture.

The floral notes continue into the taste along with a citrus-like tartness and a lingering, moderately bitter finish.

This is one of White Birch's flagship brews and with good reason.

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Photo of jimmah120
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bomber at about 2 months old

look is a deep gold with amber highlights. smell is pine, pineapple, pepper, spice, rye. taste follows with grassy hops and subdued malt. feel is simultaneously dry and juicy.

great session ipa, now I want to try it fresher.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Tap and Barrel, Smithtown, NY.

Poured a hazy brassy hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a clean citric dry hop and light bready malt.

The taste was hop forward with clean notes of pine, pepper and grapefruit. A soft round psle malt supported the hops.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style with a pleasant carbonation and residual hop spice.

Overall a tasty hop forward sessioner.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled March 2013, consumed July 4, 2013.

A - Hazy medium orange with a huge amount of cream coloued head.

S - Spice and a light to moderate bitterness. Some pine, citrus and herbal aromas are present along with a bready sweetness.

T - Moderate dry bitterness with pine and lemony flavours and lighter herbal notes. Some caramel malt sweetness in the background.

M - Light body. Some hop resin. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fairly standard IPA, a little citrusy, a little grainy, and a little light. The advertised hops are lightly present, but don't lend any distinct character. This is basically a serviceable IPA, or perhaps just simply a pale ale. Not offensive in any way, but I'd like more.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

(4.25) A: Clear copper with a tall creamy and bubbly head that sticks around for a long while. Foam clings very well to the glass as it slowly recedes. Very nice.

(3.75) S: Dry pine, toffee, apricot, grasses, and some nutty elements. Fairly musky with a light floral undertone that blends in well with the apricot.

(3.5) T: Floral, light dry pine, apricot, and grasses. An odd faint crisp watermelon-like finish (but it’s nice). Hoppy bitterness in the finish. Quite a restrained taste overall even considering the ABV but easy to drink and definitely sessionable.

(3.5) M: Light bodied with a moderate carbonation. Clean and crisp.

(3.75) D: This isn't the most flavourful or diverse IPA in this ABV range by any means but still a tasty and definitely drinkable IPA nonetheless.

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Photo of bmwats
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Hazy golden hue. Pours a dense, 1 finger, frothy, white head. Lots of effervescence. Settles slowly, but not completely. Thick pockets of spider web lacing.

S: Hay, light hint of butterscotch and peanut, and a light hop.

T: Really pea-nutty, and more piney than the nose lets on. Quite hoppy.

M: Well-balanced malt with the hop. Very bitter, piney finish that lingers on the palate throughout.

D: Sip and enjoy. The bitterness will dictate it.

Atmosphere is really nice. Hazy hue, thick head, and pretty substantial lacing. Nose is nutty with hay and hops. Really nutty flavor balanced with a surprisingly strong hop character. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of dheacck11
3.15/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

March 2013 batch.

Pour is a muted orange amber with a finger of creamy soft white head.

Nose is pretty muted as well, not much to speak of. Some hints of malt and grain, no real notice of hops.

Taste is surprisingly malty with lots of barley and rye to the front. Follows with medium strength dry and bitter hop.

Feel is pretty thin, with the hops leaving a rather bitter and baking soda-esque after taste.

Not what I was hoping for at all. It did grow on me with time, but really, there are so many better beers to be had, this one really left me wanting more. Too bad.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass, bottled February 2013. Hope this goes a lot better than my last White Birch beer.

A good solid orange amber body, a bit hazy with some fast rising cola bubbles. Head is a nice off white creamy and foamy consistency though, and makes easily three fingers nicely. Lots of staying power and creamy cap on it as well, but most of the head bubbles are also quite large as well.

A surprising simple and solid nose. Biscuity malts with hints of caramel like sweetness, and soft chewy grain. Hop action is downplayed but a noticeable citrus and possible floral aromas comes out. Nice hint of toast and sweetness matching as well. Pretty good.

Palate comes off a bit watery unfortunately. Grainy mouthfeel with an astringent grainy finish also. Hop angle doesn't bring the flavor, but there is a light medicinal quality finish to the brew also. Not much depth to this beer, a little bit of piney grapefruit sense in the mid palate that doesn't last that long.

It's a drinkable beer, but it certainly not a memorable pale ale, and there's much better out there than this.

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Photo of slammo
4.45/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I am very impressed as I drink this Hop Session Ale. The firm foam head stayed around as I admire the orange hue. Notes of citrus and grapefruit waft towards my nose and the mouthfeel is lovely. The real thing I like is the hoppy quality and the quaffable session style. You can drink a few of these and not overwhelmed with high alcohol. Balanced and smooth I think I'll have another.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a foggy burnt orange hue. The body glows. Head is a thicker cap of dense, stiff, doughy fluff. Head retains but leaves rather light lacing for its size. Looks awesome.

S-The nose is pretty legitimate as well. Hops present themselves as candied citrus and soap along with unique notes of mint, aspirin and eucalyptus. Solid malt base rounds out the beer and adds balance.

T-The taste is balanced has plentiful amounts of hops. Starts off with sudsy hops, then you get a brief hint of the mint, eucalyptus and medicinal hops. The comes a solid rush of fresh citrus and bitter pine. Finally it recedes into a very tasty muffin/biscuit malt finish. The bitterness lingers pleasantly. It reminds me a lot of Maine Beer's Peeper Ale (mostly because of its delectable malt profile).

M-Fuller than the 'session' word denotes. High bitterness. Still, very drinkable. Carbonation nearing intense.

O/D-Almost didn't buy this because my last White Birch encounter (Oude Timey) was an absolute horror-story. I am happy I tried this. I think the agreeable $4.50 price tag is what facilitated my purchase. Only the second White Birch brew I have tried. This one was a success as much as the first was a failure. This is about a month old and its great. But don't even think of trying this after another 2 months.

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Photo of farrago
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Moderate pour yields a half glass full of an off-white head, virtually all dense foam with a slowly dimpling surface, the foam oddly pulls away from the glass sides as it dissolves even as the overall retention is excellent, the lacing is thin but super-sticky. Light orange copper highlights to the golden hued base, thick cloud of bubbles rise steadily, definitely hazy and mostly opaque, noticeably unfiltered. Firm nose of black pepper, pretzel dough, coriander and cumin spices, dried orange peels, trace earthiness, mild apricot to peach fuzz, burnt mocha powder, at times something like tobacco ash, excellent complexity without striving too hard, holds its fullness for an extended period of time, deepens as it warms. Full-bodied, has some give but not close to soft in texture, the carbonation provides a steady churn but nowhere near the high level you’d expect from the way it virtually foams over the glass. Has a sort of Belgian feel to it with clove, coriander, cinnamon spice flowing through, strong dose of salt and pepper. Not much citrus but decent amount of apricot, yellow apple, peach fruit. Baked sourdough and some rye as well. Herbaceous finish without too much bitter bite. Agreeably challenging even as the texture dries and gets semi-gritty. (Bottled January 2012)

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: December 2011
Batch: 11

Into a pint glass:

A: hazy golden colored body and yielded a two finger fluffy off white head. This impressive head lasted a good two minutes before dissipating ever so slowly. Light slowly moving carbonated bubbles were seen rising. Barely any lacing was seen left on the glass.

S: coffee combined ever so nicely with pine and floral tones. There were some hops slightly in the background.

T: bittersweet through the coffee but a bit more subdued with the pine and floral tones coming up front.

M: medium, dry and bitter with a bit of a metallic feel christening my tongue with some lashes, slightly sessionable

O: a decent beer other than the mouthfeel. I know it is a red, and these don't age well, so I won't knock the brewer for a not so great mouthfeel. If anything, I'll look for a fresher batch next time I see this somewhere.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hop Session Ale (batch ten, bottled November 2011), opens with a lovely pink grapefruit and pine resin aroma, with more subtle hints of lemon and eucalyptus from the hops, and delicate notes of cherry, apricot, and berry fruit esters from the malts, as well as brown sugar. The beer is quite fruity and citrusy on the nose, almost Jolly Rancher-like in its candy sweetness, but with just enough effervescent citrus pizzazz to set it apart. Only a few bready notes come through, with mere shades of toast crust providing earthiness. As a whole, the nose is delicate and delicious, and while it may be slightly biased in favor of sugars and fruits, there’s still enough pine resin and toast to remind of beer.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a nice hop bite, with pink grapefruit, grapefruit rind, and touches of pine resin dominating the hop flavors, with hints of lemon and dandelion stem adding a few more citrusy and bitter notes. Brown sugars and hints of vanilla add a bit more sugar, and a small selection of orange, berry, and apricot fruit esters build off of this. Small bits of toast crust and biscuit provide some counterbalance. The aftertaste is mainly bitter grapefruit rind and dandelion stem hops, with some sugars and breads remaining, and lingers for a decent time. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, there are some excellent flavors in this beer--flavors that are nicely balanced and delicious--but I found myself simply wanting more of them. On a ten-point scale, the hops perhaps rate a five or six, and the malts a four or five. The lighter mouthfeel reflects these more delicate flavors, making the beer seem--while deliciously delicate--just slightly more watery than it could be. On the other hand, the lightness and nice balance in here means this would be excellent fare for a hot summer day’s lunch break, when you’re looking for flavor and refreshment, but not something that, at 5.3% ABV, is going to get you bombed.

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Photo of Sammy
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Americo’s bottle, fresh from Rhode Island. Bottled in November. No aroma. Looks are good, cloudy with a significant white head and lacey. A melange of hops. That's about what I can say, as its mouthfeel is limp and its not that drinkable. Maybe their brews are better on tap.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/11. Consumed 5/12. Batch #11. Bottle count 1152.

A: A 2 finger foamy sea-shell white head is generous atop. The coloring is autumn orange, bright and neat, with a mixture of quick release macro bubbles and slow moving micro bubbles. Head retention is fair on the hold leaving speckled patches of foamwork behind of modest coverage.

S: The aroma is decent at first but quickly fades. Get your wiff early on this one, of light fresh pine and flowery orange notes.

T: The flavor is sweet citrusy pine with a nice level of hop bitterness, dry tangerines and some Amarillo? Lemony hop notes. A small bit of tropical pineapple and grassiness blends nicely together. Bright flavor, and good hop presence even after 5 months after bottling. The hopping is clean and well defined with some sweet toasted grain juice and pine lingering afterwards.

M: Frothy around the tongues edges. Bitter orange and pine flower hopping stays nicely behind.

O: Overall crisp flavor, smooth hoppiness is bitter yet smooth and tasty enough to satisfy ones quench as a summer time session hop ale. Easy drinkability, hops hold up nice and well balanced. Defines session material and one I would drink more off. Drinks more like a crisp pale rather a American amber red (body is a bit light on the speciality grains and malt backbone for an amber) but is a non factor and is crisp for a hot summer drink.

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Photo of pburland23
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've heard good things coming out of White Birch so I was glad to pick some up during a recent trip to Boston.

Batch #10, Bottled November 2011.

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy burnt orange amber with about a half finger of thin white head which rapidly dissipated and left minimal lacing in its wake.

Smell: Malty and breast up front. Sweetness is dominant aroma but it's not overwhelming. There's some citrus notes mostly orange rind. Nice smelling but not anything spectacular.

Taste: Again, starts off malty. There are some really nice caramel notes. The hops are herbaceous. There's a certain mint tea quality to the hops. Really nice balance between the malts and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and quite smooth. Very sessionable at 5.3%

Overall: There's a great beer in here somewhere but it comes across mildly underwhelming. It's drinkable and tasty but it left me wanting more.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Gallows in Boston. Review from notes.

A: Served in a pint glass, Hop Session was orange/copper in color with a small off white head that had decent retention. Sporadic lacing.

S: Light floral hops with a hints of citrus. There is a bit of bready malt and a little caramel too.

T: Nice combination of caramel and bread a nice hoppy bite to it. Some floral/grassy hops with a little bit of citrus fruit.

M: Light to medium bodied, very crisp and easy drinking.

O: A nice beer, easy to sit back with this one all day.

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber body. Ridiculously huge head. Pretty sure this is a sign of infection.

Nose is sharp and hoppy, but also a bit acetic. Still wondering if it's infected...

Flavor is pretty good. Hops and slightly astringent malt. It's not truly infected, but may just have a brush of brett.

Mouthfeel is tingly and highly, highly carbonated.

Overall, It's a decent brew. Kind of reminds me of Orval. Maybe it would have been better when fresher. Still not bad, just not entirely what I expected.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a White Birch tulip glass.

The color is a hazy orange/amber with some rust colored highlights, a finger of foamy white head the leaves a thick lacing on the glass.

The smell has a strong orange rind aroma with some bitter hop aroma and a little malt finish in the background.

The taste is malty at first with some mellow biscuit flavor like an English muffin. There is a nice fruity flavor toward the middle with orange coming out and sweet jelly flavor. There is a good bitterness that comes out at the end and stays for a short while in the aftertaste.

The feel of this beer is a light to medium bodied with a really nice feel going down. A good drinker with a drinkable feel.

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Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours an orange color with a 2" head that lingers a while. Spotty lace develops.

Smell: caramel, orange, and a floral bitterness is nice on the nose.

Taste: follows the nose as caramel, pears, orange, and a floral bitterness creates a flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp throughout. Refreshing. Short aftertaste.

Overall: as the name implies this is a definite session ale. Nice flavor profile and a decent refreshing aspect makes this a good beer.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: rust orange/unfiltered body, finger white head
fine lacing

S: mild orange/peel, hint of biscuit malt

T: sweet biscuit, hint of citrus, green veg/grassy bitter finish

M: med/light body, semi-dry/crisp mouth

O: 1st White Birch beer, not bad, can't
put my finger on the chalky/green veg aftertaste.
Would try more of their beers.
Seems like many Mid-Atlantic/New England
beers have that quality. Lots of flavor
for session brew, goes down quite easy.


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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.1/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint glass, color is copper to light amber with a solid head that dissipates and then clings.

Smell is fairly hoppy with a very light biscuity malt flavor.

Taste is a little too bitter upfront, but there are notes of some biscuit malt, light caramel and maybe a touch of roast.

Mouthfeel is a little to harsh, very biting on the tongue for an amber and a beer of this strength.

Overall, another average brew from white birch, with some off flavors for the style.

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Photo of icepik
2.8/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Review caveat: This beer was bottled during Aug.2011 and I’m tasting it during Jan. 2012. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the bottle date in the store when I purchased it. This beer was about ready to explode from over carbonation. It was a massive gusher (when chilled to 45 deg. no less), but in the breweries defense, they probably didn’t mean for it to sit on the shelf for 6 months. Bottle shop should have pulled it, but that’s another story. Anyway, take this review with this caveat AND check the bottle date if you purchase this beer!!!

A: amber color, cloudy/chill haze, good head and lacing.

S: Decent hop aroma (given its age), somewhat citrus, bit of tea aroma, with a lot of malt in the background.

T: A very nice balance of malt and hops, even with its age. This beer was probably great when fresh. Hops provide nice balance against the malt with a very nice bite of bitterness on the finish. Taste is nice, seems a bit like an English IPA.

M: Over carbonated, dominates mouth feel

O: Tough to give an objective opinion. I’m betting this beer was pretty good when fresh, but it’s way past its prime now. I’ll try it again if I can find a fresh bottle.

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Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

First pour is all foam that settles slowly, leaving some spotty, but chunky lace. Very cloudy, but the broth is amber-orange.

Floral hop smell. Mild alcohol nose and nearly no malt.

First impression is of a superb home brew, that is to say there is plenty of yeast to the taste. The predominant flavor is the hop, particularly in the swallow and aftertaste. The body is notably thin and the high carbonation exacerbates this.

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White Birch Hop Session Ale from White Birch Brewing
3.7 out of 5 based on 269 ratings.
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