Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Stronghold Session Ale | Dragoon Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
35 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: 35 |  Reviews: 10
Photo of UlfAndreas
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of BarkBrewing
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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 superwho24
4.74/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


5 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 Little_Joe
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 FMetzger
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Chilly_E
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of justinlaz
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of busternuggz
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

10 oz pour served in a small tulip. Described as "a cross between an American brown and an English mild".

Dark reddish brown, clear. Nice khaki 1/2" head with good retention.

Nice aromas of toasted wheat bread, mild chocolate, English hops, slightly earthy. Very nice.

The taste comes on with bread and bitter chocolate, some moist earth, if you will. Nicely balanced. English and American hops both show up nicely. Starts a little malty, ends dry and clean. Fairly long finish of earthy bitter hops.

Great texture, light bodied and smooth. Ends clean.

One of the first beers they had here and still one of my favorites. A unique combination of styles that works well. Well crafted and interesting.

 705 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 tucson_brewson
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can poured into an imperial pint glass.

L - Pours a dark, reddish cola brown. A good inch of foamy tan head that dissipates to a thin lacing with good retention. Looks like a nice brown ale.

S - Not strongest on the nose, but a balance of burnt cocoa, coffee, bread, and earthy English hops.

T - A very toasty biscuity malt, freshly-baked bread, light caramel sweetness, dark fruit, with a slightly spiced hoppy finish. I'm a fan of beers that let the bready malt flavors stand out, and this is no exception.

F - Medium bodied, light carbonation, smooth and creamy, slightly dry finish. Very drinkable.

O - This session ale comes across as a lighter English brown ale. A nice balance of caramel malts and complex dry hops. Another great ale from a brewery whose flagship IPA is one of the best and available everywhere. Will definitely try again and hope to see more on tap around town.

 903 characters

Photo of theParish
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

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

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 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 WilliamBrasky
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No idea how to rate this beer other than for what it truly is. When you see the word "Session" in this game your mind thinks of one thing only...but why not, let's screw with the psyche even though it clearly states otherwise on the can.

 238 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Pours a medium to dark brown in color with a very bright body. A small head retains for a good long while and then laces pretty well. Looks like an American brown ale in the glass.

S- Somewhere between a chocolate brown ale and a schwarzbier, this one displays a toasty, somewhat sweet scent with a bit of hop balance in there as well.

T- The front end of this one displays a solid, chocolatey backbone right up front. Next comes the traditional brown ale components of a bit of caramel malt and toasty malts. The back half of the drink displays a lightly hoppy taste profile after the darker, sweeter front half to balance it all out.

M- Relatively thick, this one drinks smooth, yet pretty easily. The balance between malt and balancing hop is recognizable as the beer goes down easy with great balance.

Overall, this is a great table beer, just as the label claims. I'm sad I only grabbed a single, but I'm glad that I can go back and grab a four pack,

 962 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of mc4z
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of trevorpost
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Harvey98
4/5  rDev -4.3%

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

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Stronghold Session Ale from Dragoon Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 35 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.