Session IPAs Under 5%

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by pro45, Dec 11, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. pro45

    pro45 Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2016 New York

    I have yet to have one I like. I've tried All Day, Go to, Oskar Blue's version, and a few others. I would rather drink the higher abv IPA's. For you hop heads and IPA lovers, is there one that you actually enjoy and could recommend??
    SFACRKnight and peteboiler like this.
  2. ypsifly

    ypsifly Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    If you like Galaxy hops, Nordskye from Blackrocks is amazing. Probably not in distro in your area, but if you ever come to MI, seek this one out.
    onespartan and cl3 like this.
  3. mudbug

    mudbug Defender (606) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

  4. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa

    I like all day quite a bit, but honestly good session IPAs are hard to come by. I just stick to the full strength IPAs, I think the sweetspot in the style is 6-7.
  5. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    I don't know if you will enjoy them, I think you like the full strength more. Session IPAs are ok but will never come off like the real deal. I would just roll with regular, the ABV is pretty minimal in my mind, 4.9% or 7-8% is like cutting hairs.
  6. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    60 Min or Bell's Two Hearted rock and are not that much more in ABV.
    matthepanther likes this.
  7. Shanex

    Shanex Poo-Bah (1,735) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    All day is very good, but I too like my IPA a tad stronger.
  8. Ale_Jedi

    Ale_Jedi Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2015 California

    Session ipa's and hop-forward pale ales seem often to bleed together. If you can, seek out Alpine Hoppy Birthday (used to be labeled a session ipa but now a pale ale) and Kern River River Buddy.
  9. marquis

    marquis Champion (802) Nov 20, 2005 England

    Nobody seems to have a clue about session beers. They are beers that you can,and want to,drink one after the other more or less indefinitely. The idea of regarding 5% as session strength is plain nonsense.
    Not only is it a strength matter but also balance. Would you want to drink 10 or 12 pints of it?A good session beer grows on you as you drink it. Each pint tastes better than the oneexample.
    Few IPAs lend themselves to this.Greene King IPA at 3.6% ABV and 30 IBU is perhaps an example.Though not my favourite beer by any means.
  10. Dan411

    Dan411 Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2017 Missouri

    Little Big Hop by 2nd Shift Brewing out of St Louis is one that follows what you're looking for. It's a 4.9% East Coast style IPA with Cascade,Magnum, Simcoe, Zythos, and Columbus hops. Their website says it's a "Low alcohol DIPA" lol. Really nice beer that I have enjoyed several of without feeling redundant.
  11. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    Whats wrong with Easy Jack? I always enjoy this one, available all over.
    jvgoor3786, Reemer686, eppCOS and 3 others like this.
  12. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,416) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    I have yet to find one that I wanted to drink in multiples.
  13. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Crusader (735) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    I tried drinking this style back when it was cool, but no longer drink them. I mildly enjoyed Stone Go To but that's about it. All of them are unbalanced hop water to me.
    HorseheadsHophead and peteboiler like this.
  14. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,998) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    High hops and low ABV is a compromise that tends to throw things out of balance.

    You'd be better off (IMO) going for the better balance and greater complexity of taste in a pale ale, brown ale, or bitter.

    Nonetheless, here are the below 5% pale ales that I have rated 3.75 or above (leaving out retired or one-time beers):
    • Fulton Hopstar Session IPA
    • Fair State Pahlay'Ahlay
    Central Waters Hop Rise Session Ale and Bell's Oatsmobile Ale are also respectable.
    JimKal and Ranbot like this.
  15. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,979) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    And the irony is you are right, session beers are this and that. just as you say. And yet he is certain to get more people to respond with the information he seeks by asking it as he did. It would have been equally ironic if he'd asked the question as you suggest he'd ought, and gotten responses of beers only available in England, don't you think?
    MeBeerGood, T-RO and Squire like this.
  16. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Go with some awesome Pale Ale's or sours if you want lower abv beers. Better buys for the money, sessions will always taste lacking or watered down. Easy jack probably the best of a bad lot, if you want some sour or pale ale recommendations hit that like button @pro45
    pro45 likes this.
  17. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,399) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    Notch does low abv hops very well.
  18. ChrisSchlosser

    ChrisSchlosser Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2013 Ohio

    Fat Head's Sunshine Daydream. Delish.
  19. pro45

    pro45 Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2016 New York

    Thanks for the replies. Keep 'em coming! I can't do sours, but pale ales are probably my best choice here. I agree that session IPA's are too watery and don't showcase the hops too well. SNPA and Daisy Cutter are readily available here. If there are any other's comparable, please do share!
    eppCOS likes this.
  20. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Given the "session IPAs" I've tried I'd do what you suggest and stick with the APAs

    Have you looked through this thread yet:

    Lots of useful suggestions.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  21. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Troegs Solid Sender Ale
    Ballast Point Grunion
    Carton Boat Beer (NJ)
    Firestone Pale31
    (never had it, but heard good things PseudoSue)
    gardenstatepkwy likes this.
  22. RobCorriveau

    RobCorriveau Initiate (85) Dec 15, 2010 Massachusetts

    eppCOS, matthewp and Sheppard like this.
  23. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (8,469) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

  24. peteboiler

    peteboiler Initiate (138) Dec 16, 2010 Florida

    None. I like the idea. But have been unimpressed. I usually have a nice, craft pilsner instead.
    LuskusDelph and Troutbeerbum like this.
  25. mnrider

    mnrider Crusader (756) May 26, 2009 Connecticut

    Lawson’s Supper Session #2 and #8 are pretty darn great.
    Ham_and_Egger likes this.
  26. SoleBriety

    SoleBriety Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2013 California

    Firestone Walker Easy Jack
    Modern Times Fortunate Islands
    Ballast Point Even Keel

    These are a few of my faves.
    eppCOS and mnrider like this.
  27. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,510) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Melvin brews an excellent Pilsner that clocks in at 4.50 %abv that I do want more than 1 pint, or can, at a sitting. Not a session strength beer by UK standards but there's a growing US following that puts 4.5 and lower as the American definition of a session strength beer beer.

    I KNOW the difference in abvs is rather large but I doubt that I could sit at a pub and drink 10 to 12 pints of beer in 1 sitting. Even beers under 4%abv. Are you talking aboot drinking the same beer 10 to 12 times?

    #27 Bitterbill, Dec 12, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
    eppCOS likes this.
  28. medb

    medb Initiate (54) Aug 27, 2013 California

    Sierra Nevada had a great one in the fresh hop pack, 4.2% and not too thin. Really looking forward to seeing Strata hops in more beers.
  29. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,510) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    That IS a nice one.
  30. TonyLema1

    TonyLema1 Poo-Bah (1,880) Nov 19, 2008 South Carolina

    Highland Daycation, don’t know if you’re in their distro, but they come in 15pack cans, same price as All Day, 4.9% ABV, and tasty
    msscott1973 likes this.
  31. inflatablechair

    inflatablechair Aspirant (236) Dec 31, 2003 Idaho

    Why are you still arguing about this? Aren't you sick of it? It seems like I've been reading your posts about it for ten years!

    We get it. The UK has a different definition for words like lift and fanny and, apparently, session. It would be like if I went on a forum about large vehicles and said, "Calling a truck a lorry is plain nonsense." People say we Americans are enthnocentrist jerks....

    [Edited to get back on topic]

    I too have been disappointed with the session IPAs I've tried. They invariably need more sweetness or more hop aroma to balance the bitterness.
    CaptainPiret likes this.
  32. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (553) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    When fresh, Easy Jack is probably the best of the session IPAs.
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  33. IBUBrew

    IBUBrew Initiate (0) May 6, 2017 Vermont

    Any ipa can be a session ipa if you try hard enough..
  34. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,998) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I disagree with your analogy. It is more like arguing about the definition of "pint."

    Same basic meaning, different "size."
    Ranbot and Bitterbill like this.
  35. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,672) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I don't mean to thread shit this particular topic as often as it pops up, but Session IPAs suck. You just can't have all that bitter without the malt to make it a pleasant beer to drink. The bitter and palate fatigue overwhelms the session ability, it's painful to drink 1 let alone 4. A better session beer belongs to English Milds and the like. The trend to NE Ipas is because they're highly drinkable and very well balanced.
    JuicesFlowing likes this.
  36. marquis

    marquis Champion (802) Nov 20, 2005 England

    That sort of consumption is quite common particularly at the weekends.Yes, session beers were designed with this in mind. The beer seems to put on weight and there is little temptation to change brews on the way. This is why I emphasise that low ABV alone does not define a session beer.It's a beer you always want another pint of and can always find room for.

    Because there will be a whole number of new BAs who haven't read these threads before.
    It isn't an issue of how you define it, it's an issue of what works.
    Like these $250000 "affordable" houses which aren't affordable to most people, 5% is a session beer most people can't session.
    Physiology does not alter after crossing the Atlantic.
    Ranbot and Bitterbill like this.
  37. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (648) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Seconded. Oatsmobile is 4.3% ABV and very hop forward, but has a firm malt base steering it away from the session IPA's typically thin and watery characteristics [or hop tea].
    Agreed... it hits all the typical session IPA points, but the mildly toasty malt gives it a little more interest than others I've tried.
  38. zstef99

    zstef99 Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2008 New York

    Good Nature Non-Stop Hop Onslaught is by far the best session IPA I've had. And at 4% it's lower ABV than most other beers in the category.
  39. inflatablechair

    inflatablechair Aspirant (236) Dec 31, 2003 Idaho

    This applies ONLY if your idea of a session is the same as an American's. A drinking session to me implies two or three beers in one hour. There are a number of factors that affect how I view a "session," including price, distance to the bar, etc. Not to mention the fact that your definition, as far as I can tell, comes historically from the time of the industrial revolution, i.e. approximately 100 years after our two countries parted ways. Meaning that since English is a living language, it's completely natural for us to have evolved different definitions for the word. As it applies to beer, it's probably true that Americans heard about English session beers and adapted the term to fit our culture. Now, in the US, "session" has in most instances become a generic adjective that basically means "low(er) ABV." It doesn't matter that when we first co-opted the term, we probably misunderstood what it meant and were ignorant of the etymology; the fact is the definition has changed, and the change has been codified in multiple ways.

    So, you see, it IS about the definition.
  40. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,226) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    I don't care generally care for session IPAs. Most of them are too watery to be enjoyable, and they often cost as much as the high abv IPAs, so why bother?
    Having said that, there are a few that are pretty good. I'd recommend Firestone Walker Easy Jack, Stone Go To IPA, and Founders All Day IPA.

    However, for the most part, I agree with you. I don't like session IPAs in general. I'd rather have 2-3 IPAs and enjoy them to the fullest extent of their flavor and texture. If I'm going to drink 6+ beers at once, I'd rather go with pilsners, goses, or low-abv saisons/grisettes.
    StartedwithSAM likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.