Session Fest | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

88 Reviews
Session FestSession Fest

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
According to Full Sail Executive Brewmaster, Jamie Emmerson, “Session Fest is a Czech-style strong lager called polotmavé or literally “light dark or semi-dark.”
Brewed with 2 Row Pale malt, Munich malt, Caramel malt and Wheat malt, and hopped with a blend of Glaciers and Cascades.

6.2% ABV
26 IBU

Added by msubulldog25 on 09-30-2011

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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 204
Photo of DirtyPenny
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz stubbie into a pint glass while watching a dismal Buffalo Bills performance against the vile Cowboys.

A: Reddish bronze with one finger of off white head that fades more quickly than the Bills' playoff hopes.

S: Caramel and pale malts with piney hops.

T: This is a pretty hop-forward brew. The pine-flavored hops mingle with the miscellanous malts and leave a mild to moderate bitterness on the tongue. Not bad.

M: Medium and kind of creamy.

O: Decent, accessible beers seems to be the notion that the Session series is built upon, and that's continued here. All in all I like their standard lager better and their black lager best. A nice, crisp lager without a whole lot to make it stand out. Seems like it'd be good to keep around in the fridge if company comes by. Not offensive or overly powerful flavorwise, but a world better than the Bills... I mean, Buds, of the world.

(Seriously, all I want is to see the Cowboys lose. I don't care to who. Is that too much to ask?)

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Photo of litheum94
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11 oz stubby. Reviewed on 11/7/11.

Vigorous pour produces a big, slightly tan head, with large bubbles that fizzle out. Clear, amber-leaning-red body.

Clean, grainy lager aromas. Some spice with earthy hops.

Crisp and dry. Cracker malts with an earthiness. Some burnt caramel and spices. Some bitterness, woody and floral in nature. Slight boiled vegetable lager flavor, but not bad.

This is just like the other FS Session beers; nothing spectacular, just clean, good drinking beers. And at a great price too.

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Photo of specksnreds
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid beer. Not much to look at with its pale amberness and lack-o-foamy-head. Smells like malt liquor with a spicy cinnamon poke in the sniffer. Smells like flowers too. Tastes tingly and bock-like: surely a dichotomy. Mouth feel belies the light color.... a bit. Weightier than expected, but by no means a tongue carpet. I picked up a single in this instance, but I'll get the 12er next time.

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.29/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a dark copper amber having a stable head and nice lace. Smell is light thats a little grainy, roasted malt and hops. taste of grainy roasted malt with a bitter hop lasting through the aftertaste. Can't taste much of the alchohol either. Mouthfeel is medium with a good spike of carbonation. No wow factor hear, but not to bad for a red.

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Photo of mudbug
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the retro stubby bottle with the entertaining rock paper scissors cap, which by the way has a holiday theme.Into a pilsner glass results in a pretty medium dark amber body with nice clarity a small head forms then settles into a thin cap. Bubbles continuously rise up keeping things lively, very appealing.
Aroma is a subdued huskiness with a ever so slight hop note, just what a lager should be.
Taste is pure lager, grain husk, cracker with a tint of caramel, finish has a nice bitter spiciness to it, refreshing straight forward and uncomplicated. goes down easy and quickly with a nice clean aftertaste.
Just a nice well made lager that hits all the right spots, especially the pocketbook. A real value.
Bravo Full Sail!

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not really sure what to expect here, it's supposed to be a lager, but it's a Czech style lager? But at the same time an American Red? I dunno. Pours almost a one finger head into my standard pint glass. The head is maybe just a hair darker than white in color. The head is pretty soapy looking, and it doesn't have the best retention, it's already almost gone. The lacing doesn't look bad, but we'll have to see how it goes once I get down to the bottom of the glass. The body is as clear as could be, like many lagers are, however I would think I red lager might have a little cloudiness to it. The only reason visibility isn't 100% is because it's darker than your average lager. I wouldn't really call the color of this beer red, it's more brown, with some orange and yellow. Almost golden in color really. Honestly the color combination is kinda ugly, but oh well. The carbonation looks a little bit under medium. The head is now gone but some nice foam is still on top of the body. Overall not an outstanding looking beer, we'll see how the lacing goes. It's not a bad looking beer, but not too great. The smell is very light, I get the red lager smell, medium malts, some hops, etc etc. Maybe a tiny bit hoppier than your average red lager? Still, it's not very hoppy. The smell is just really small, I get it's a session lager, but there just isn't much here. I maybe even get a nut smell here? I'm not sure, I'm digging for anything to comment on the smell. Really just not much going on here at all, I wish I had more to say. Overall a pretty boring, and very small smell, maybe a 3 is harsh, but I don't see any reason to give it more than that. The flavor is slightly better, for sure more potent than the smell. A little sour to start things off, maybe some adjuncts, or cheap malts. You kinda get that average sweet, sour, macro lager taste. After that comes some quality medium malts and a tiny bit of hops (I guess a decent amount if your considering it's a lager). You do kinda get that red lager taste, I little hard to describe, it's kinda a distinct malt flavor. Overall not a bad taste, but somewhat boring, a little cheap tasting, and somewhat watery. I dunno....on second thought it isn't that bad, it has some legitimate flavor to it. I don't think it deserves a 3, but at the same time I don't think it has earned a 3.5, so 3. The mouthfeel isn't bad, the carbonation is for sure higher than I thought it would be, definitely a highly carbonated beer. One might say over carbonated, but it's a lager, so it's not a horrible feature. The body is actually pretty big in your mouth, for the style that is. Not a bad mouthfeel at all for the style, may be better with a tad less carbonation though. The drinkability is actually really high for it being over 6.2%, they do an excellent job of covering up that alcohol. Overall it's pretty light, tasty enough, and surprisingly low on the alcohol taste, so it's not hard to drink. Overall on this beer, it's not bad, and maybe it deserves a 3.5 for taste, but I don't think it's quite there. It's not a bad beer, one I wouldn't mind having at a party or something, but it's just not up there with the quality beers. Not a bad beer, but not too great either.

The appearance turned out to be pretty good. The lacing was pretty patchy, but it followed me pretty much all the way down the glass. The body was kinda ugly, but that was only because of the colors. The head, not great. I'm kinda confused on how to grade this beer for appearance, maybe it deserves a 4 for the good lacing, but I'm pretty sure it's well short due to everything else.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice shiny copper color with just a bit of haze. Little bit of eggshell colored head makes a brief appearance.

Toasted grain and slight caramel sweetness provide a nice malty aroma. Hint of floral hop character in the background.

Biscuits and toast alongside some caramel malty goodness make for a nice refreshing brew. Hops add just a bit to balance things out. Mouthfeel is light, crisp, and refreshing.

Overall, not a bad easy drinking beer. Flavors don't exactly 'wow' you with anything but it's still got enough going on to keep things interesting.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, tawny amber, with boatloads of streaming carbonation. The head is thin but holds nicely, yielding a sticky lace. The aroma boasts a touch of caramel, with hints of fruit and a butterscotch note.

Clean, bready malt flavor, with a mild dryness throughout. Light caramel sweetness keeps it interesting, plus there is enough bitterness at the back for balance. It's doesn't really taste like more than 6% ABV, and too bad it is because it's supposed to be session. The mouthfeel is quite nice for a lager, it has a full body with smooth carbonation, very rich.

I feel like this is what Fat Tire could be if it were a lager and a bit more robust. It's a well made beer and I like it, I just wish you really could call it a session lager. Recommended...

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Photo of Billolick
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11 ounce stubby-twist off cap w/"Naughty/Nice" on it-Best before dating (1-7-12)...

Pours clear auburn amber, medium tan head, showing moderate retentive powers, then leaving a thicker film, collar and respectable slippery lacing.

Dark grain bread in the nose with some nuttyness.

Tasty and straight forward offering. More dark bread notes, malty sweetness, a pinch of all spice, a rye note and light dryness in the finish. Ehh....decent litle sessioner...but doesnt really do much for me.

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Photo of alohaspicoli
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Brownish/amber with a nice, off-white head. Good retention.

S: Sweet and malty, with a light roastiness to it. Very nice balance of flavors.

T: Roasted malt with a very slight caramel/brown sugary sweetness.

M: Crisp, clean and smooth. Perfect carbonation. Not much alcohol burn.

O: I will definitely buy this again. Yet another very drinkable and enjoyable lager from Full Sail.

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Photo of Jason
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11oz brown stubby with a freshness date.

LOOK: Tawny with a slight chill haze, great looking head.

SMELL: Caramel, toasted bread crust, herbal, clean, faint peppercorn, fresh grass.

TASTE: Fresh maltiness, toasty, rustic bread, grainy, clean palate, smooth, spice, fresh herbs, toasty finish.

A pretty kick ass edition to the Session line-up, I was a fan to begin with but to have an option even if it is seasonal is great. Bring on the lagers!!

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Photo of rowew
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11 oz stubby bottle in 12 packs, enjoy by date clearly marked. Green and blue color scheme.

Appearance: Dark reddish amber color, average sized head with good retention.

Smell: Sweet malt, just a slight hint of roast.

Taste: Again, definitely malt dominated - but this has a nice combination of malt flavor with a bit of roast, and a slight bitter in the finish.

Overall impression: Another drinkable offering in the Session line .. this is not the most exciting beer out there, but it's a solid amber that I wouldn't mind having a few of.

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Photo of diamondc
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: About a fingers worth of head on a really aggressive pour. Dark bronze, filtered, with a steady stream of bubbles.

S: Caramel, brown sugar, cookie dough.

T: Sugary, sticky malts dominate here, almost bordering on cloying. Subtle roasted, nuttiness flavors when warmed up. Reminds me of an Oktoberfest. Grassy, more bitter than expected hops round out at the end.

M: This beer tastes better warmed up to 50-55 degrees than straight out of the fridge. Surprised by the ABV, but the heat is well hidden.

O: A pretty good amber, nothing too complex. Paired well with a almond butter sandwich.

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Photo of Gatch
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Reddish-brown with a thick, off-white head.

S - Sweet, lightly roasted malt. Bready with molasses, caramelized sugar, not much else.

T - Malt dominates. A bit of alcohol throughout, especially in the finish. Roasted character of the malt stands out through the finish.

M - Slight carbonation. Enjoyable to drink. Clean and smooth. Just as a lager should be.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really pretty reddish hued color to this one, nice thin off white head to it. Aroma was half and half sweet and grassy hopishness. Not bad, a good mix in a red ale.

Smooth taste, with more of the fresh hoppy feel to it, not ipa territory, but substantial enough to make it enjoyable, especially at the price. Easily the best option out of the session beers. But 6.2% = a session beer? I'm ok with that I guess, but its a little close to not being sessionable, but it hides the alcohol. Faint chocolate malt aspect to it. Chalky and nutty sometimes.

If this is an oktoberfest effort, its definitely above average.

Thanks to elrogish & Quinn for breaking these bad boys out during our cabin barleywine trip. Solid beer.

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Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Session Fest pours a clear golden amber with a small whitish head leaving just a bit of oily foam on the glass.

The aroma has a full woodsy character, fresh, balanced and somewhat spicy.

The flavor has a nicely toasted bread bent, lightly caramel in character with the earthy, spicy hops backing things up. Hmm, this beer apparently has Cascade in it as well but the hop profile seems purely Continental, nicely balanced with a touch of bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth with just a bit of bite from carbonation.

Overall a very nice and balanced beer, very drinkable and flavorful. I'd expect a good solid beer from Full Sail and they delivered.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11 ounce bottle - at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia. Enjoy By: 12/25/11.

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber-tan body with a small, brief, near white head.

Smell: Smells of bread crusts delightfully toasted up to a golden-brown and topped with sweet, wholesome caramel and a few coarsely chopped nuts backed by a note of spicy hops.

Taste: Toasted, grainy bread with a wash of sweet, sugar-induced caramel. Some nuttiness. Zesty, spicy hops with ample bitterness to balance things out nicely. Drying, malty on the back end with a lingering spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation with some tingle present (that tells you it's working).

Overall: Now, that's a beer I've not had in a long time... a long time. Maybe it's just me, but this one reminds me of the first installment to the LTD series.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this literally as they were being unloaded on display. I was told this was the first batch arrived.

I have not had many Full Sail brews, so I didnt know what to expect. My initial impression was of high hopes. The grenade-type bottle is pretty darn cool, plus I like it when any brewery has a "series", like the Session series.

The smell was malty, and very similar to many american style fest lagers. It pours a nice autumn brown, little head, but nice carbonation. The carbonation actually made this fall brew pretty refreshing.

The flavour was great. Slightly hoppy and nutty...a really unique characteristic. The higher than normal alcohol was noticeable, but enjoyable. This is probably up there as one of my favorite fest beers and I would buy this again.

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Photo of wingman14
4.06/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice reddish brown with a frothy off white head that sticks around. Smell is mostly malt with some yeast and subtle spice notes. The taste starts with the malt and moves into the yeast, and has a nice subtle spice finish. The aftertaste has some of the malty notes with a subtle sweetness. A nice medium mouthfeel adds the the depth of the beer, giving a thicker style. Nice carbonation and an easy drinker. These session beers are solid beers, all with subtle nuances and great flavor. Nothing huge and over the top but done right.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11 oz stubby from a 12 pack. Winco, S.Salem. $9.98 Dark red amber colured ale with a goodly sized, frothy off white head. Fine malty,hay,bready aromas slight hint of lemony hop Malty taste..hint of chocolate and spices..not sure were i get it from but there is a definate peppery spiceiness. OK on the palate..has a rather evident alcohol graininess right at the end..but its not that bad. Nice beer at a good price. Another fine "Session" offering

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Photo of Domingo
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite series' of beers - this one is clearly shooting for the Oktoberfest market based upon the name...or so I'd be left to assume.
Pours a an amber color and like the others, has a great head and just the right amount of carbonation.
Smells like amber malts, lager yeast, with hops being perceptible, but fairly mild.
Sweetness up front, leading into a little bit of a caramel gingerbready malt character. The middle is where the Czech roots come up as there's just a kiss of creaminess and (mostly acceptable) diacetyl. The hops show up slightly as well, but the final tastes are those malts again.
Easy drinking, but a hair potent for the name "Session" at 6.2%. It's probably a bit closer to their LTD series of beers, although that's not to say I wouldn't happily have a few of these in a row. In some ways I'd say the beer defies how strong it actually is.
If it weren't for that slight Czech creaminess, they probably could've just called this a Marzen. It does give it a bit of character, though.
Not bad.

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Photo of colforbin73
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

first off i will say that i am not a lager man, give me a pils or a weizen first... as far as lighter beers go. and i am not a big fan of the regular pale lager, nor the black -- though the black was pretty decent, for a lager. BUT I LIKE THIS!

pours a nice rusty auburn red into a tall pilsner glass, with an exuberant head as promised on the box.

the aroma is.... lager, malty and yeasty with no real hop presence.

the taste is great though -- deep rich malty beer with an excellent burn and bitterness going down and a "(oktober)festy" spiciness that really rounds this beer out. (it is their winter/fest? seasonal afterall.) it is dry but sweet, and true the 6.2 abv is technically on the high end for a Session Beer, but this thing is very QUAFFABLE.

the mouth feel is Lager, but sweet and rich too.

i have only had a couple so i might change my tune, but this winter could be one of cases of Celebration and 12s of this... great beer.

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Photo of 2xHops
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was sort of surprised, but not really, to see this offered at a local Central Market. They had few other good stuff I will be reviewing soon.

I poured this red lager into a pint glass...

The taste's great for a red lager. The alcohol did not come on strong, and it certainly tasted somewhat malty. It reminded me of Killian's Irish Red but with couple notable differences. First, this beer taste better, and it does not have a peculiar aftertaste like Killian's does.

Is this a session beer? Probably not because it has 6.2% ABV, but it is definitely a welcome change to their regular lineup.

Overall, you can't go wrong with this beer. I think it's a great beer to have at parties. I love the bottles and they're so easy to put in the coolers to lug around.

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Photo of aaron12
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

G R E A T !
this sessions' is awesome, totally dig it. nice mix of a german strong lager, and a dry irish red ale. this is new, interesting, affordable, and best of all tastes really good. well done i'd say... thanks full sail, i'm starting to like your session series more than your regular one.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Little grenade bottle poured into my HotD goblet... okay 1/2 inch white head drops very quickly.. but the brew is very pretty deep orange amber/copper... nice... only okay lacing.. but the retention is pretty proper.

Nose shows great toasty malt.. heavy for a "festbier" grassy hops.. but are very pleasant on the West Coast..

Flavor mirrors the nose with a substantial biscuit quality that is hard to walk away from... bready without ever verging on "sweet", instead the malts are pretty dry and have some lite caramel essence... big dry toast....

Very nice from front to back... it is easy to see the folks at Full Sail put some time into this one... nicely done for sure...

Glad I had the chance to try this one early in the release... Thanks Matt!!!


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Session Fest from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.65 out of 5 based on 204 ratings.
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