Site Session IPA as a separate style

Discussion in 'Support & Suggestions' started by AlcahueteJ, Feb 8, 2014.

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  1. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (628) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I know this has been shunned in the past, but is there a possibility in the future of adding "session IPA" as a style alongside IPA and Double IPA?

    While I'm not entirely a fan of this trend, some are better than others, and I do enjoy trying them. But sifting through the database to find which session IPAs are reviewed higher than others is becoming increasingly more difficult as more and more breweries are releasing lower abv IPAs.
    StoneTSR likes this.
  2. NHhomebrewguy

    NHhomebrewguy Zealot (549) Apr 9, 2012 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    I have yet to find one. I find them weak and boring. The nose is usually pretty good but then you get into it and it is nothing but a disappointment. It's like they forgot to add malt. I want to like them because I'd love to have 3 or 4 a night and not have to worry about having a hangover in the morning but I just can't. Am I far off here?
  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,258) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Can't you just search the IPAs by "ABV <"? Granted, looks like you have to skip the first 900 or so that have no listed ABV...

    So, it shouldn't be recognized as a separate style---because you don't like them?
    fmccormi likes this.
  4. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (515) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    For all the experienced folks on this site, I would have figured that most people would come to expect a lower ABV IPA not to have all of the body and bite of their higher alcohol brothers. They are certainly some great ones and I am thankful they are out there.

    It is chemistry.

    No need for a new category. Too many already.
    russpowell, digita7693 and AC-Mivsek like this.
  5. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,088) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    While I sympathize with your problem in finding them--the beers you want to try, I'm not a fan of the idea that we should create a new style to deal with problems created by the organization of a particular database or with the weaknesses of a particular computerized search engine. Since there are those who argue that IPA and DIPA are not really separate styles and should be treated as a single style, can you come up with some other criteria associated with brewing that would justify creating YAS (yet another style)?

    Edit: BTW, I'm also not a fan of such a change given that most of the "Session IPAs" don't fit the criterion for being a "session beer" in the country where the notion of session beers was developed and where "session beer" is not a style at all.
    #5 drtth, Feb 8, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
    pixieskid, BrettHead and jrnyc like this.
  6. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (746) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    YSA good one. I don't think a marketing term should be a style.
  7. NHhomebrewguy

    NHhomebrewguy Zealot (549) Apr 9, 2012 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    I'm not saying don't add a new category because I don't like them, I'm saying don't add a new category because it's a gimmick. I guess I should have said that in the first place.
  8. nc41

    nc41 Meyvn (1,436) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I don't understand the fascination with an overly bitter IPA that sacrifices the malt back bone it needs to make it taste good. Just drink one less regular IPA, or limit to 2-3 if your driving. I can't imaging banging back a sixer of this awful stuff, I've had Lawsons rendition on tap and it's better than All Day but it's entirely forgettable. I'd rather drink Miller Lite/ Ultra if ABV is an issue or a Guinness.
  9. saison_in_pa

    saison_in_pa Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Session ipa is already a style and has been forever. It's a pale ale and nothing more.
  10. marquis

    marquis Crusader (720) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    There are too many styles already.Beer exists in a spectrum, some IPAs aren't strong some are. Some aren't particularly bitter, some are
    It's a bitter.That's been the situation for getting on for a century now.People are getting so used to shed loads of hops and relatively high ABV that they think that anything different can't be an IPA.
    wspscott likes this.
  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (628) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Have you tried any of the American "session" IPAs?
  12. marquis

    marquis Crusader (720) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    No, they don't seem to have reached us.There seems to be plenty of beers around from our own 1150 breweries!
    I did sample these beers at a recent festival though. All of course on cask.
    Sgt Pepper (Cambridge Brewery), American Bitter Red (21st Amendment Brewery), Even Keel (Ballast Point Brewery), Cream Ale (Ninaski Brewery), Sunshine Daydream (Fat Heads Brewery), Extremely Self-Conscious Ale (Stone Brewing Co), Tree Hugger (Terrapin Brewery), Restoration Pale Ale (Abita Brewery), IPA (Harpoon Brewery) and Avatar Jasmine IPA (Elysian Brewery).
    I was expecting something different but found them all a bit one dimensional.
    We do have plenty of hop forward session beers such as Hophead (brewed by both Brewster's and Dark Star , these are not new beers as they date back to the 1990s). I actually tried them hed to head yesterday.The beers in the photo look hazy, a couple of minutes later they were water bright.
    Thing is that very hop forward beer, regardless of strength, doesn't lend itself to session drinking.The key to a good session beer is that they get better with every pint and slip down easily.I couldn't drink more than a couple of pints of these at a sitting .
    This may be of interest;
    #12 marquis, Feb 9, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
    russpowell likes this.
  13. Brianhophead

    Brianhophead Initiate (64) May 16, 2007 Alberta (Canada)

    Session IPA IS a separate style. It's called "Pale Ale"
  14. Diotima

    Diotima Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2013 Wisconsin

    I feel most session IPAs have less of a malt backbone than most pale ales, but I guess this can vary from beer to beer. Someone on here described session IPAs as "hop water" which I thought was a pretty funny and apt description. The only example that I really like is Central Waters Hop Rise.
    NHhomebrewguy likes this.
  15. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,018) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Damn dude. That's a set of beers that I would be super impressed to see all at the same fest even here in the states.
  16. reprob8

    reprob8 Initiate (94) May 22, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    I prefer Oak Aged Imperial Double Session Mild IPA's
  17. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    As others have said, I don't see how you could establish a new style for these beers when they are just APA's. That said, I guess I don't mind a brewery describing a beer as a session ipa because it tells you that you can expect more hops up front.
    For those who don't like them, all I can say is that I went from being a DIPA guy, almost exclusively, to really liking these a lot. They tasted weak to me at first too, but I very quickly got over that. Now I often feel like many DIPA's are too much and I'm not really missing them. I just like hops. If I can get them at 4%abv, I love that!
  18. LankFreudRyte

    LankFreudRyte Initiate (59) Mar 13, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Mild/Pale ale is listed. ESB's included. Think of Goose Island IPA. I believe it is only bottled in Baldwinsville, NY; and, Fort Collins, CO. Another Chicago beer gone national.
  19. offthelevel_bytheplumb

    offthelevel_bytheplumb Devotee (452) Aug 19, 2013 Illinois

    Ratebeer has made it a separate style. My personal opinion is that it is nothing more than a marketing term.
    VonZipper and russpowell like this.
  20. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Poo-Bah (1,580) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Session IPAs are a mere sub category from the APA style. But if a beer is close to being the godfather of the style it is this one. this beer is so hoppy it may be considered a "session IPA".
    Hanglow likes this.
  21. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,163) Mar 18, 2010 California

    VonZipper likes this.
  22. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (712) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I'd rather have Triple Ipa and barrel aged whatever become a style before "session ipa"
  23. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (628) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Except they're not. They're thinner, and have less malt and more hops. Drink the Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale next to Daytime. You could easily pick out which is which, even from the color. Granted this isn't a PERFECT comparison, because Dogtown isn't session strength.
    VonZipper and Monstro like this.
  24. TheBrewo

    TheBrewo Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2010 New York

    They don't really do anything new for the style, and are generally within the accepted abv range, so I feel like at present they fit fine into the already established categories.
  25. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (386) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Thats generally my stance too. All Day IPA has a good aroma and citrus quality but the body is all water to me. I tried Pop Up IPA this weekend from Boulevard and that seemed better. Different hop profile than all day but at least it has some malt backbone to it. Seems the best compromise is usually in the 5-6% ABV level. Seems they can make it really hoppy and still have solid body to the beer.
    NHhomebrewguy likes this.
  26. Dools9

    Dools9 Zealot (516) Jul 5, 2011 Massachusetts

    Lagunitas DayTime is the best "session IPA' out there imo. Had some over the weekend for the first time in over a year having previously had Founders, Uinta, Boulevard and it beats them hands down.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  27. marquis

    marquis Crusader (720) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    To be honest, though they were interesting I was more than happy to return to my usual tipples.
  28. reprob8

    reprob8 Initiate (94) May 22, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    the important thing to consider is that unless this is accepted as a new style there is little chance of the World Beer Cup handing out awards in 100 categories
  29. JuniperJesus

    JuniperJesus Aspirant (270) Feb 26, 2011 Illinois

    We should have a separate category for them since they're not IPAs. They should be called "Pale Ale Lite"
    MooseBoose likes this.
  30. MooseBoose

    MooseBoose Zealot (533) Jun 6, 2007 Wisconsin

    Many quality Pale Ale's are going to be offended by this!!

    I agree with JJ above. IPA or Pale Ale "Lite" would be a better term. As to whether it should be a separate category on this site, I'll leave that up to the guys who run the site.
  31. kdb150

    kdb150 Devotee (462) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania

    No, Pale Ales can be quite good. Session IPAs taste nothing like a well-made pale ale. A good pale ale has a nice malty, almost creamy mouthfeel and strong but not overpowering hop flavors. A session IPA is a mess of a beer that makes my mouth feel like it's the morning after I drank a 12-pack of mediocre IPA.
    MooseBoose likes this.
  32. SaCkErZ9

    SaCkErZ9 Poo-Bah (2,148) Feb 27, 2005 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Just like IPA and DIPA can be dry or malty, a session IPA is nothing more than a dry pale ale.
  33. Hanglow

    Hanglow Defender (648) Feb 18, 2012 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    I think if you like hop forward beers and want something weaker than a pale ale, then golden ales, british interpretations of american pale ales and the likes of Jarl which is referred to as an american blonde are the way forward

    I tried All Day IPA in the states on keg and bottle and prefer a lot of the golden ales we get here to it to be honest, it was decent enough but I think golden ales have shown the way if you want a reasonable hop hit, drinkability and lower abv. Of course there's a lot of so-so ones too
    Shroud0fdoom likes this.
  34. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (628) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Yep, thought the same thing this weekend. For the most part I don't like them, but Lagunitas is markedly better in my opinion. I also hadn't drank in quite some time.

    I also see you're from Mass. The only other one I found to be as good as Lagunitas' offering was Notch's Left of the Dial.
  35. MrDave

    MrDave Devotee (466) Jan 23, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    The indignant response: Pale Ales already exist! Has the whole world gone mad!?

    The practical response: Since they are more hoppy and less malty than pales and have a different ABV range, there seems to be enough nuances to distinguish it as a unique style. Don't know if that's necessary or not...

    The bro response: Who cares? Drink what you like and call it what you like.

    The dick response: Are we really talking about this again?
  36. greg1973

    greg1973 Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2010 California

    Hoppy Birthday is the Bomb.
    Session enough for me. About 1% more ABV than a light beer... But it's actually beer.
  37. marquis

    marquis Crusader (720) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    To say what is or isn't an IPA is dangerous ground.The name has belonged to a whole range of beers including about a century when it was interchangeable with bitter.IPA was never just about the hops from the beginning.
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