Sleeman Railside Session Ale | Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

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Sleeman Railside Session AleSleeman Railside Session Ale
Sleeman Railside Session AleSleeman Railside Session Ale

Brewed by:
Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
As the legend goes, the wild hops growing by the train tracks leading to the original Sleeman Brewery are the inspiration for Railside Session Ale: A flavourful and distinctly hopped brew with a refreshing taste of history.

26 IBU

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 52
Reviews by ChrisCage:
Photo of ChrisCage
3.7/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- This ale pours a deep golden colored hue, and is clear for the most part, except for what I am calling some chill hazing, but it is moderate at best. The head is white, with puffy foam and is about 1.5 fingers thick initially before settling down into a thick-ish layer over the brew itself. Lacing is quite nice, with strings of sticky protein infused foam clinging to the side of the glass, and the carbonation seems to be average in aggression, but plentiful at the same time.

S- Overall it is light in aromas, but there is a nice blend of caramel malt sweetness, muted citrus such as grapefruit/lemon/pomello, dry leafy/grassy tones and a bitter hop finish that lingers ever so slightly. It has characteristics of a craft brew so I can only hope this macro leaning brewery stays the course with this one!

T- A very tasty beer to say the least! Well balanced hop bitterness from start to finish, alongside sweeter tones of barley grain, malted barley, light bready notes, dry grassy flavors and some citrus zest throughout. Overall a decent tasting beer!

M/O- This has a clean, smooth mouthfeel with limited carbonation really. The low alcohol makes this an easy drinking, highly sociable beverage that I could enjoy throughout an evening! I would and will pick this up again and recommend it to anyone looking for something that resembles an English Bitter but not quite as hoppy. Very decent!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of thehyperduck
3.46/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Tallboy can from TBS; dated Apr 4 2016 and served well-chilled.

Pours a clear golden-amber colour, with two fingers of fluffy, soapy, sparkling white head situated atop. The inner surface of the glass becomes caked with lovely rings of lacing as it slowly recedes over the next 5 minutes or so; a foamy cap and collar are the eventual remnants. Citrus, floral hops and pineapple juice on the nose, accompanied by notes of bready, doughy malts, toffee and marmalade sweetness. Not bad so far.

A decent session beer, but not a stand-out. Good balance between the grainy, bready malts and toffee sweetness which characterize the start of the sip, and the earthier, floral hop undertones that show up for the finish. Slight hints of citrus, with an off-dry aftertaste that quickly fades. Thin in body, with unnecessarily assertive carbonation levels that result in a very lively mouthfeel, almost reminiscent of a soft drink. It softens a little over time, but remains crisp and fairly refreshing throughout the glass.

Final Grade: 3.46, a B-. Sleeman's Railside Session Ale is a mellow, balanced, unobjectionable light ale. While this beer's recipe includes two distinctly non-British hop strains - Cascade and Galaxy - the overall flavour profile doesn't seem to have a lot in common with American pale ales (especially IPAs). It's really more of a hybrid between English and American, and for a Sleeman product it's quite passable. Not something I'd seek out, but it's an acceptable macro session ale.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.39/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

473ml can, a sort of surprise release, in the sense of a tri-vectored product spattering all at once - but single serving for me, yo!

This beer pours a clear, pale copper amber colour, with a weirdly teeming tower of puffy, chunky, and somewhat rocky ecru head, which leaves some sparse mitochondrial lace around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, further indistinct toasted breakfast cereal notes, muddled light orchard fruit, a touch of neutered citrus acerbity, ethereal wayward son yeasty notes, and weak leafy, weedy, and herbal green hop bitters. The taste is wan grainy and bready pale malt, a fast-fading caramel sweetness, very plain mixed pome and citrusy fruit esters, the same lost and directionless yeast from the nose, and more meek earthy, herbal, and leafy hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly low-key in its gentle and hard to really give a shit about frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and mostly smooth, nothing really all that arduous here that might care to meddle, as such. It finishes off-dry, but not by much, as the malt really seems like it has someplace better to be right about now.

Yeah, not a particularly bad brew, in terms of lowered ABV hoppy ales, but there is indeed that Sleeman house thing that makes me feel like it's 1999 all over again (sorry Prince, this one's not about you, RIP). Since I'm not buried 10-deep in my University post-grad crowd, I don't think that I'll be pining for another one of these.

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Photo of ewpass
3.4/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear gold with a moderate head leaving lacing. Mild bready nose with some light floral notes. Mild malt body with medium carbonation. Odd metallic taste as it warms. Easily the best in the Sleeman stable but drink cold.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.07/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium: Capped, stange glass.
Opacity: Bright with moderate activity.
Color: Dark golden.
Head: Foamy and bubbly 3 finger.
Legs: Good with decent swirl reaction.
Smell: Caramel/Toast.
Taste: Barley/Apricot/Herbal.
Feel: Toasty/Leafy/Syrupy.
Body: Medium slick and a bit oily.
Carbonation: Good crisp.
Overall: Basic English session pale ale. Slight alcohol fault.

Visual 6/10 - Flavors 5.5/10 - Sensations 5/10 - Balance 6/10 -
Freshness 5/10 - Intensity 6/10 - Complexity 5/10 - Appreciation 5/10

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Photo of BrewAskew
3.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can: Poured a light amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention. Aroma of light dry citrusy notes is a bit light for style. Taste is a mix of light dry caramel malt with some dry citrusy malt with no floral undertones. Body is about average with good carbonation. Bland and doesn’t have much hops presence.

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Photo of TerryW
2.66/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Oddly watery looking copper/amber colour. short head immediately disappears, leaves just a small islet of bubbles. Nose is just a whiff of caramel malt, nothing really hoppy to speak of. Taste is of light sweet malt and and sharp mouthful of really basic citrus hops. Crude and blunt, no nuance. Sweet up front, strongly bitter, lingering drying bitterness. Nope, not a real good effort.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Hazy amber in colour, not much head. Very English in style, which is unexpected from a North American "session" offering--bready, doughy, crackery malt, and English, herbal, leafy-green hops. Unfortunately, still hindered by Sleeman's atrocious house yeast (coppery, metallic, funky, earthy badness) and by some cooked-green/corn notes.

It's not saying much, but this is certainly one of the better Sleeman offerings, even if it is still pretty "ehh." And it doesn't even have the nostalgia points of their Cream Ale.

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Photo of toddsschneider
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Electros
3.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of TheHammer
3.2/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured with a finger of head that promptly went down to a steady island that stayed for the duration of the beer. No lacing to speak of but fairly steady carbonation in the dirty almost brown blonde body.

Smell: I'm catching a slight hop whiff and the barest touch of caramel malt and that's it. Warming doesn't really help it's case out very much. Nothing offensive here, just absent.

Taste: Starts with mild bread malt and turns to a mixed does of grass, herb and earthy hops and are kept tightly reigned in and under control. If I was treating this as a regular pale ale, I'd say it's hop presence is lacking, but given it's branded as a session ale, I'll give it a bit of leeway here.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is muted throughout the beer, but I do like that it is well reigned in and gives a mild caramel malt aftertaste (which is peculiarly not present as the beer is drunk). Transitioning is ok but there's just not a lot to the beer, as it comes across as a bit moist.

Drinkability: Refreshing, easy to drink and light bodied, something you don't see too often from a Pale ale. That said, it does come across as a bit boring.

Final Thoughts: The session part of the ale is upfront and centre on this one. I'm not really sure why the brewery really tried to sell the hops on this one, as this is hoppy like Alexander Keith's IPA is hoppy. Anyways, it's a good alternative to basic lager, but not much else.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Photo of bumchilly25
3.13/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of VbolieuV
2.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

See-through amber in color with a 1-inch white head.

Metallic smell, not hoppy at all in the nose I hope there's hops in the mouth! Especially since I bought two cans.

Metallic flavor too, caramel flavors almost no bitterness or hops.

What a disappointing beer. I expected it to be an attempt to make a good beer by a macrobrewery to get the craft drinkers, but anyone who drinks craft beer won't like it in my opinion.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.46/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was actually better than I expected. A bready malt bill with hopping that is reminiscent of a pilsner, albeit a watered down pils. In terms of macro session beer, you can do a lot worse than this one.

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Photo of mattsander
3.05/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Molson2000
2.14/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Photo of Exeter
3.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Howlader
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of spinrsx
2.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of NedShakeshaft
2.63/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a clear 341ml signature Sleeman bottle into a tulip glass, producing a fluffy white head atop a surprisingly clear amber body. The look reminds me of a British pale ale (Innis &Gunn?), and the head retains fairly well.

The smell is bready and yeasty, similar to an English pale, with the noticeable addition of that Sleeman "funk" they somehow manage to incorporate into nearly all of their beers. Some faint floral hop and citrus nose, but the notes are well-hidden in the funk.

Taste is ... Pretty good. Distinctly Sleeman, I'd almost be disappointed if it wasn't. Some pineapple notes and peat soar announce the caramel sweetness, not unlike a Scotch ale, though not nearly as thick. In fact it's quite thin, and finishes clean and dry.

Like many of Sleeman's offerings, the beer is somehow better than the sum of its parts, so I'll give it an overall score that's a notch higher than my component ratings.

I'll buy this again some night when I feel like crushing some ales right out of clear bottles with some good friends. It'll be like 1990 all over again, but with a few more hops.

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Photo of CurtisD
3.01/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of groleau
2.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of DannyBaldoni
4/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sleeman Railside Session Ale from Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.21 out of 5 with 52 ratings