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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: 74 | Ratings: 267
Photo of far333
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Horribly overcarbonated bottle. This sat on the counter for 20 minutes because it was initially too cold, so there's no way it was shaken up. Even a slow pour kicks up two thirds of a glass of foam. Beyond that, it's a hazy apricot color with a rocky head of off-white meringue.

Inviting aroma of citrus hops, grainy and pithy, a bit of a rough-edged aroma. Flavor seems less hoppy, but the flavor may be masked by carbonic acid coming off the foam and carbonation as it is a bit harsh. Mild honey malt rides beneath a nearly acrid hop presence punctuated with mint and grapefruit rind. Some yeastiness in the finish, perhaps not a clean or complete fermentation. Rough mouthfeel, acidic and sharp.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 12/4/2011 at Pour Farm in New Bedford, MA served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, citrus and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of citrus and caramel. Then a good hops presence comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easy, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer to pound down for a long time.

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Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two fingers of white foam on top of a hazy, golden-copper body. The head settles slowly and leaves thick lace on the glass.

S - Fruity, spicy hop aromas with lots of grapefruit character. Caramel and toasted malt in the background.

T - Lots of thick, fruity malt up front with notes of caramel and some spicy hop notes. More hops show up in the middle with some pine and sweaty hop character. Finishes with notes of mustard and other spicy hop flavors as well as sweet caramel and toffee.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Despite being obviously a bit past its prime at 8 months old, this is a very enjoyable beer. The hop character is nice and balances well with the thick, sweet malt. It is surprisingly robust and thick for a beer of its relatively modest strength and it has held up remarkably well, though I really wish I could have tried it when it was fresh.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$5 for a big boy glass @ Atwoods, Somerville MA

Translucent honey color with a sticky white head. Ample lace and retention.

Sweet and very bready. Hop character is a mix of fresh morning dew grass and sweet tobacco leaf twang.

Tastes like it smells: bready with with fresh grass and tobacco hop spice. Raw, fresh and grassy earthyness. Perfectly balanced. Big and creamy mouthfeel that you'd expect to find on a beer twice the abv.

This was a standout at the ACBF for me and it's even better in a less distracting enviroment. Far and above my favorite White Birch.

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Photo of FrankLloydMike
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this from the bottle several times, but I've been enjoying it on-tap at Atwood's in Cambridge lately.

A: Arrives in a full pint glass, with a nice, pillowy head retreating into a sticky lacing. The color is an orange-amber with lots of red, like a good mix of golden and red beets; hazy and glows in the dim tavern-light.

S: Malty with little hint of the hops; clean but dank; smells like a bready English bitter; earthy and slightly faint.

T: Taste resembles a good English-style pale ale with a much more pronounced, but delicate hop bite to balance it. The malts are bready-sweet, but clean and crisp, with the hops--pine, grass and a hint of pineapple--lending a grassy earthiness and a pleasantly bitter finish. Really a wonderful balance, and just about perfect taste-wise for what I look for in an everyday beer.

M: Just about perfect: full, juicy, not quite chewy; very smooth; lower end of carbonation, but still spot on for me.

D/O: The lower ABV, smooth feel, and fresh taste make this an easy beer for a session. Like the balance of hops and malt, this is a wonderful balance of complexity and approachability; it's a beer that impresses while retaining a laid-back, everyday style. If it was available in a six-pack, this would probably always be in stock in my fridge. As it stands now, it's in regular rotation on the bomber shelf, and I really hope to see it pop up more on-tap so it can be something of a go-to when I'm out. This is easily one of my favorite White Birch offerings, and one of my favorite local beers period at the moment.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

batch 5, bottled May 2011, into fantome tulip. 5.4%

A- Gusher! Lost a few oz here. 5 fingers of head, sticky and nice. Hazy orange with a bit of brownish yellow hue.

S- Potent hops, sweet, powdered sugar and birch syrup. White Birch, birch syrup? go figure.

T- Outstandingly hoppy- and this bottle's a few months old. This one's a lip-smacker. Very bitter, a bit herbal and piney. Malt is pale and lightly toasted, very nice. A hop session indeed.

M- Very bitter, crisp, and full. Good composition.

O- Amber/red ale? I think it's an American pale/IPA. Scored as such. Good stuff. Surprised me.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at Burrito Me in Laconia, NH. Bottled May 2011, Batch 5. I poured the beer into a weizen glass, and it shows a bright orange-gold coloring, opaque and hazy, with a huge, foamy, off-white head. Big bubbled, the head slowly settles from about four inches down to around two. Great lacing along the glass. Aromas of spicy and green hops, with fruit and citrus sweetness. Sugary sweet notes are present, also. Very balanced, and slightly light bodied. The aftertaste is tart citrus, with a grapefruit pucker, kind of like citrus candy, with some smoke, and a dash of dry, peppery hops. The finish is dry, but smooth. Very good brew.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured all head, cream colored, and it lasted and lasted with a merengue floater. Hazy light burnt orange color. Smells like an IPA. Taste is medium IPA hoppy and has a fruity aspect I settled on describing as grapefruit. Medium rich body with a pretty long finish. The best
White Birch I've tried so far.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.64/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap in Manchester, NH at Strange Brew. Interesting little beer that reminded me a lot of fresh Apple Cider. (not necessarily a good thing)
Each of the four pints that were brought to our table (two for me, two for a buddy) had little to no head. Only a slight foam atop the beer. The color was really like that of a fresh cider. Dull/hazy light brown. Despite there being no head, there was surprisingly a small amount of lace left behind.
Aroma was pretty well balanced and a mix of light malt and some bright light citrus.
Ok, not kidding… there was definitely some apple flavor in the beer. Perhaps a bit grassy with citrus from the hop notes. Again fairly well balanced.
About as light as carbonation can be while still being called carbonation. Fairly light bodied. It actually worked. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of slentz
3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Bert Better Beers while vacationing in NH. Bottled May 2011 Batch 5. Served at 50 degree into duvel tulip glass.

A: Moderate pour down the center of the glass leads to 5 finger head! Wow this head is not going anywhere, sticks around forever. Lots of carbonation in this one. Beer is a golden color and somewhat hazy. Looks like it could be unfiltered. 4.5

S: Smell is lacking. However the hops may have faded a bit since I am reviewing this about 2.5-3 months after bottling. Really sticking my nose in this one and getting nothing. 2.5

T: Taste is really not that bad. Tasted like a pale ale without the bitterness. Really wish there were hops present here but overall not all that bad. More on the malty side. 3.5

M: Mouthfeel is light and prickly tons of carbonation as show in the pour. Glad I split this bomber with my wife because I really would not have wanted to finish this myself. 3.5

O: A decent beer perhaps a bit past its prime. Would be interesting to try it super fresh. I may look for this one around here. I have a few other White Birch offerings and looking forward to those.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

deep dark red, lots of ruby tones mixed in with a thick brown base. Really nice color here. Great clarity that you could see right though to the carbonation that was rippling up toward the service. A very nice head of foam formed on the top of this one, maybe a height of two inches would be about right, and this kinda of sat there for a little while before dropping down to a nice thin pillow that covered the rest of the top of it. Great side glass presentation capped it off nicely and what you have here is a fine looking red ale.

The aroma was as malty as I was expecting. Deep tones of bready malts coming through almost immediately, with a deep underlying earthy and grainy taste to it, kind of musky and very nice and typical of the style. Lots of caramelized sugar here sweeten it up and I started to detect just the slightest bit of hoppiness in the finish. Everything pointing to a very nice experience here. The flavor was spot on for the style. Rich medium bodied ale that was more then well carbonated, and had a good bit of life in it as well. Great malt flavor coming though here, very bready with a good amount of a hop kick in the finish. Lots of sweet caramel and sugar flavors and a nice touch of fresh grass ringing through on the finish. Very nice example here. The finish was great, super smooth and a touch dry, just enough to make you come back and get a bit more from it. This was a classic for me and exactly what I was looking for at the time.

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Photo of gestyr
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 22oz bottle into a 24 oz glass. Bottled Feb 2011, batch number 2.

A: Pours a red-gold color. Head is big, fluffy and long lasting with lacing.

S: Hops. Citrus. some malty aroma

T: Malt sweetness very quickly gives way to hops. Lots and lots of hops flavor with a lingering bitterness.

M: Meduim to full bodied. A bit on the full side for an Amber but not too extreme. Light carbonation.

O: I liked it. It is a good session beer and would go great with steamed shrimp or a sharp cheddar cheese. Next time I am up in New Hampshire I will be looking for more.

Batch 9 Bottled Aug 2011.

Freshness makes a big difference More of the hops aroma and flavor comes through. Also, there is a caramel aroma in this batch that wasn't there in Batch 2.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at American Flatbread's Real Ale Regalia, poured into a tulip.

I haven't been too impressed with White Birch's bottled offerings but seeing this on cask intrigued me, so here we go!

Pours a hazy amber/orange color with a small white head, the nose was very fresh and hoppy with grassy & herbal notes.

Taste is as the nose leads you to - delicate and fresh with a small hop bite, an almost fruity flavor with a bit of sweet malt to round it out. Mouthfeel was a bit light and watery but not too bad. Overall this was very good, I was really pleased and look forward to trying more of their beers!

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Photo of morebeergood
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a "batch one" bottle in Maine for under $7. Poured into a stemmed beer glass. Golden raisin colored body. Very substantial white head was formed, producing medium amounts of lacing. Would not classify the look as an amber ale at all. Smell was a musty yet fruity hop aroma. The taste was pleasant but mild. There was a nice amount a citrusy hops, but it was not overwhelming. The mouthfeel was quite dry and crisp, which affected the finish just a bit. Would have liked if this beer was a bit smoother at the end. The abv was hidden well, as after I had finished the bottle, I could have sworn the abv was higher. This was my first WBB beer, as most of his offerings have been on the expensive side. I liked this one a lot but it did not blow me away, which makes me question what I would think of his more pricier offerings.

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Photo of dciBA
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into an oversized tulip. Color is a hazy amber. A small head forms but quickly fades to a skimming. Lacing is there, but not too much of it. Bottled in Feb. 2011, so not super fresh, but good enough.

Your nose greeted by a nice dose of hops right away. As the beer warms some sweet caramel works in but it's mostly citrus hops still. Very pleasant smell.

Just like the smell, your palate is hit with citrus hops at first followed by a really nice maltiness. Toasted bread and sweet caramel malt mix in with the hops perfectly. While the nose just revealed citrus, the flavor holds piney hops as well. I can only assume that this was more hop forward when fresher but at this point is very well balanced and tasty.

Carbonation is a little high in my opinion but doesn't really detract all that much from an other wise smooth mouthfeel. Finish is nice and dry, which is great for a beer called hop session. Very nice beer from White Birch. I'll try to grab a real fresh version next time it's around.

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Photo of Overlord
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

What? Only 5.1% alcohol? I assume the label is lying. An ABV that low can't contain flavor molecules of this magnitude. Thanks to a generous BA.

Pours a hazy, slightly murky orange-ish gold. Listed as an amber/red ale, but there's nothing red about it that I can see. Big gushy white foam head.

Smells like fresh cut grass, some hay, a bit of orange rinds with a tiny, very tiny lemon-y citrus zest. The brew it reminds me of right off the bat is daisy cutter.

Taste is also daisy cutter-ish. The hop profile is splendid with grass, hay, some light citrus notes, orange/pineapple rind ... just really quite nice and very .... wait for it ... keep waitiing ... sessionable. Mouthfeel is bubbly and lively.

Very drinkable, very pleasant.

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Photo of Brad007
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After spending a lot of time on the extreme beer side of the equation, I'm more than happy to look for beer lower in alcohol with lots of flavor.

Pours a light amber color with a thick, frothy head into my glass. Notice the lacing that's left on the glass after a minute or two.

Hop forward with a great dose of buttery malt. Grassiness from hops is the most apparent. More like a pale ale.

Bitterness is pronounced with a small amount of grassy citrus. Buttery malt kicks in the middle.

Unfortunately, the bitterness becomes unpleasant towards the back of the mouth. Wish there was more of the malt to go around.

A decent stab at a session ale. Of course, there could be a bigger focus on the malt. Still, you cannot go wrong with this session ale. Pick it up before you try their other, stronger offerings.

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Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice bubbly 2 finger head that fades at a medium pace with a no lacing over bubbly semi clear amber reddish orange color.

Nose brings some fresh hops, light citrus and tropical fruits, very light resinous, a bit of orange peel, and just a hint of malt backbone.

Taste starts crisp and light, with more hops, light citrus and orange peel, very light tropical fruits, some aromatic hops, fairly bitter, a bit juicy, just a hint of resinous hops, fairly smooth, very light malty backbone, a slight creamy pilsner-esque toasty malt hidden in there that comes out once my mouth is acclimated to the hops a bit more, and hints of a reddish malt flavor too. Finishes fairly bitter but doesn't really ramp or get heavy, a slight sticky mouth feel, pretty dry, some lingering citrus and fruit hop flavors.

Mouth is medium to a bit lighter bodied decent carbonation.

Overall pretty good, a light hoppy session ale as advertised, decent hops, a decent malty toasty addition hidden behind the hops, very drinkable.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled February 2011
Batch One
Bottle Count 1356
A hazy amber color with a thick, off-white head. A lot of lace.
Very hoppy aroma. Mostly citrus but also a lot of herbal notes. Some sweet malt.
Predominantly grapefruit taste. Late earthy hops. The malt hung in there.
Pretty nice beer, just a little on the timid side.
Would drink it again.

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Photo of MA08
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy deep amber with a decent tan head that retains. Strong smeels of pine and grapefrui.

Huge, but balanced hop flavor. Although insanly hoppy, the malts kick in to balance it out.

Overall, this is a great session beer, with a surpising amout of kick for a low ABV beer. Although classifed as an amber, this tastes west coast IPA all the way.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Brown and cloudy, pretty good head that dissipated into a good sheen and left nice lacing.

Smells nice, malty and piney, plenty of grapefruit, lots of aromatic hops.

It's hoppy, with a nice piney grapefruit background and a smooth, easy malt finish, much like the smell. Very tasty stuff!

Feel is pretty rich for the style, although it's medium body it's almost full really, with such a rich, smooth feel. Excellent.

Honestly, it's not very typical of the style at all, but I'm not letting that change my rating. This is good stuff.

Very drinkable. As the fourth person to review this beer, I'm giving it two thumbs up!

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Photo of mrclog
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Pours a dark amber with a three finger head. The head stayed with it for most of the glass

There is a strong hop smell.

The hops hit me up front. Nice mouth feel with a clean finish. I got a little floral flavor with some citrus and malt. The taste lingered for a bit after each sip.

To sum this up it is a very good beer worth the money spent( I was worried about this but took the chance on the word a fellow BA member).

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Photo of twelvsies
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First taste of White Birch...

The pour is noticeably murky - very cloudy indeed, but a nice orange amber hue and with a healthy head so we'll just assume this is a very sediment-y, unfiltered beer. Aromas of fresh bread, grassy hops, biscuit, and a kiss of citrus. Very fresh on the palate! Very green with bright hops, dusty and dry, plenty of hay and field notes with a nice doughy malt background. Slightly fruity esters. A really great session ale - quenching, smooth, delicious and flavorful. This is probably right on the border between and amber and hoppy pale ale, but whatever it is, it works. Look forward to trying more from these guys...

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep orange/amber color with a huge fluffy white head that sticks mad lace to the sides of my glass. Smells of hops, pine citrus and earth in front of a backbone of bread, biscuit, and caramel. Caramel and bread carry over to the taste and are the dominant force but are in constant battle with citrus, pine and a slight mineral element. Lingering hop bitterness and sweet bready malt on the finish. Medium to high level of carbonation, medium body with a sticky mouthfeel. This is a nice balanced easy drinking, dare I say it, session ale. I may have to invest in more of these.

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White Birch Hop Session Ale from White Birch Brewing
3.71 out of 5 based on 267 ratings.
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