Stronghold Session Ale | Dragoon Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
37 Ratings

Brewed by:
Dragoon Brewing Co.
Arizona, United States

Style: English Dark Mild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gueuzedude on 04-29-2012

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 37 |  Reviews: 12
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of bennetj17
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh growler picked up this evening. Rich, brown colored beer that's very transparent up to the light. The tan foam is thick and long-lasting, leaving a smidgen of lace. Doughy malt nose, with suggestions of milk chcolate and toffee.

The flavor has a pleasant, lightly roasted character, only mildly sweet with a subtle hop balance. The bitterness at the back is perhaps a bit sharper than expected, yet enjoyable nonetheless. As anticipated, the alcohol is well kept in check. Medium thick body, with a very decent level of carbonation for style.

I've been waiting a long time for someone to brew a Dark Mild around here, and while it's not quite the ideal strength (around 3% ABV), I think it'll do just fine. Looking forward to drinking more of this as well as anything else this fine new brewery has to offer.

 817 characters

Photo of theParish
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of FMetzger
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of BigAl18
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of breadwinner
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a brew. In a craft world of trend chasing and complete disregard for originality, much less nuance, here is Dragoon's Stronghold Session Ale. They've been making this since they opened it seems, and it's just such a, dare I say, inspirational beer. Imagine a brewery fixing to make a flavorful sub 5% beer, but in lieu of a hackneyed session IPA, they create what is, basically, an Americanized mild ale. Hops are present, to be sure, differentiating it from it's delicate English counterpart, but the attention to the malt profile is fantastic, dry cocoa mixing with dark crusted bread, light touches of dark fruit and leather, alongside a consistent earthy hoppiness. Deep mahogany body with a superb layer of cream-colored foam, excellent body for a beer of this size, thanks in part to the addition of oats. This is a brewer's beer, one of thoughtfulness and intention, and I sure as hell wish other brewers would follow suit.

 935 characters

Photo of mc4z
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of UlfAndreas
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of trevorpost
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Chilly_E
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of RyanK252
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Dragoon Brewing

A: Pours chestnut brown with a frothy khaki head that settles to a light layer and laces nicely.

S: Toasty roasty malt, earthy, floral, a bit fruity, and a touch of burnt sugar.

T: Toasty slightly roasty malt, floral, lightly spicy and earthy, a bit of dark fruit, and a touch of toffee and burnt sugar.

M: Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: The world needs more beers like this. It's no 4x dry hopped imperial barrel aged wild whatever, just a really nice flavorful session brew.

 523 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap into pint at 1702 Tucson. Pours a deep brown amber with nice creamy bead. Not much aroma here...some slight sweet malt and bitter hop with a bit of roastedness. Taste is really nice. Almost coffee roasted malts and sweet malts nicely balanced with some hop bitterness. Really smooth and definitely a session brew. Nice job and a good representation of the style...especially for being this far from England and in the desert.

 441 characters

Photo of Beerucee
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My kind of brown! Not too sweet. Perfect with Reds BBQ.

55 characters

Photo of Harvey98
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Dave2234
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Korbynlehr
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours like coke with a light brown heard that disperses quickly. The nose is of cocoa, at least a hint of cocoa. The taste is soft, but definitely cocoa and bread. Very good session Ale.

 186 characters

Photo of Azpittil57
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Nhoelzen
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Nat1975
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although the term "session ale" has largely been kidnapped by American craft brewers and strewed to mean a lot of new and different things, the brewers at Dragoon are working to restore the original intent of the phrase with an English-style mild ale with all the malty, hoppy and drinkable charm that's often lacking in craft beer. Well, sorta.

Deep in copper, the ale sure doesn't look like a session anything as its rich appearance shines with a clean and masculine demeanor. A creamy ecru froth separates from the ale underneath and emits a host of toffee, nutty, toasty aromas along with a faint herbal grassiness. Sweet on the palate, the richness of caramel, pecan, toast and biscuit align on the early palate.

As the ale travels onto the middle palate, the sweetness drifts and the hop flavors bring a sense of woodsy, fragrant, herbal and dry grassy taste. Slight of grapefruit and currant, a soft ester profile pulls from the hops with an elegant taste of marmalade, stone fruit and a hint toward fresh sweet tobacco. Broadly bitter on the late palate, the hops work to balance the beer and little more. A bittersweet late palate continues to dry and leaves the palate light and airy.

Medium bodied, it's easy to accredit the beer with higher body and strength due to its complexity and malt influence, but the beer ultimately is crisp, minerally and highly refreshing, living up to its near session promises. Where the Brits decry that any session ale may never extend to 4.8% in alcohol content, this English styled pale ale lingers with a spicy bitterness that slightly outlasts any trailing malt sweetness in a medium length aftertaste.

 1,653 characters

Photo of Fee
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Described at Dragoon as "smooth like toasty bread" this American mild is just that. The taste is even a bit reminiscent of a stout - but just the slightest.

 156 characters

Photo of mkh895
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of justinlaz
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A steady pour from my growler produces a fairly dense, initially two finger thick, pale brown tinged, tan colored head in my New Belgium globe glass; the head leaves a regular, layered lacing pattern on the sides of my glass as I drink this down. The beer is a concentrated brown color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep cranberry red hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of husky, toasted grain, ample brown bread notes, sweet caramelized malt and then a rich mix of cocoa and fruity berry notes. Everything together somehow makes me think of a vanilla scented, sweet, moist whole grain bread or perhaps even cake in some way. A really deep draught of the nose has me noticing a lot more dried hay and brown cracker like malt character.

The beer has a light sweetness to it up front and towards the finish it dries out with some touches of roasted malt, perhaps a hint of herbal hop bitterness, some dried hay and cracker like dry maltiness. The lingering finish sees the chewy, dense malty sweetness come back out again, though ultimately a dry, roasted character lingers on the palate with just a touch of astringency. The last sets one up nicely to take another sip. The body on this beer feels huge for a low gravity beer; this is definitely chewy, somewhat viscous and has a heft to it that belies its strength. Still, this is all within the context of a lower alcohol beer as this beer is eminently quaffable & I feel like I could drink quite a few pints of this beer and be quite happy. I also like that despite its body, the beer is not overly sweet; it could perhaps be a touch more dry (though I wouldn’t want this beer to be actually dry), but I also wouldn’t want this to get any higher in alcohol than it already is. There is a solid supporting fruitiness to this beer, this is accentuated by the fruitiness, and has a berry sort of character to it; this is offset / balanced by a light herbal character that seems to be hop contributed, though this is most certainly a malt dominated beer; some of the fruit character, perhaps just a smidge, seems to be accentuated by the subtle, soft hop character. The roast character here is quite light (especially when compared to a porter and stout), quite appropriately so of course, but does contribute a roasted edge, a touch of burnt astringency (though without a real focus on the roasted character). This really has a creaminess to it that is quite lush, especially in my second pour of this beer; this is a beer that would be ripe for cask conditioning and dispensing (Tucson definitely needs some real, true cask condition serving joints; hint, hint).

The chewy texture, ample malt flavor, balance between dark malt and sweetness, and quaffability make this a great beer for pairing with food. I could wish for something closer to 4% in strength (in fact I always prefer my own milds to be under 4%), but I could see the low alcohol perhaps being a harder sell for your typical craft beer drinker. In truth though, I am really quite enjoying this beer & I won’t mind in the least that I have a couple pints of this. I really wish this style of beer was a lot easier to get; I really hope this does well here in Tucson, it would be nice to have this as an easy option when going out to dinner around town. I will always have soft spot for milds as they were one of those styles that I had to brew myself in order to actually try the style for the first time.

 3,441 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Stronghold Session Ale from Dragoon Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 37 ratings