A Session IPA, also known as a Session India Pale Ale, is a lighter, more drinkable version of the traditional IPA, which is known for its strong hoppy flavor and high alcohol content.
The term “session” in Session IPA refers to the idea that it is a beer that can be consumed in larger quantities over a longer period of time, without leaving the drinker feeling too full or intoxicated. Session IPAs typically have an alcohol content of around 4-5%, which is lower than the typical 6-7% found in regular IPAs.
Despite its lower alcohol content, Session IPAs still pack a flavorful punch. They are brewed with a variety of hops, which gives them a distinct aroma and taste. The hops used in Session IPAs are often chosen for their fruity or floral notes, which make them more refreshing and easy to drink than their higher-alcohol counterparts.
What is a Session IPA?
A Session IPA, also known as a Session India Pale Ale, is a type of beer that is lower in alcohol content than a traditional IPA but still has a hoppy flavor. It is a relatively new style of beer that has gained popularity in recent years.
A Session IPA is typically defined as a beer that has an alcohol content of 5% or less. It is brewed with a similar hop profile to an IPA, which gives it a strong, bitter flavor, but with a lower alcohol content. This makes it a more sessionable beer, meaning that it can be consumed over a longer period of time without becoming too intoxicating.
The Session IPA style originated in the United States in the early 2000s. It was created as a response to the growing popularity of IPAs, which were becoming increasingly strong and hoppy. Brewers wanted to create a beer that had the same hoppy flavor as an IPA but with a lower alcohol content, so that it could be consumed in larger quantities.
Session IPAs are characterized by their hoppy flavor and aroma. They typically have a lower alcohol content than traditional IPAs, which makes them more sessionable. They are also often lighter in color and body than IPAs, which makes them a refreshing choice for warm weather or outdoor activities. Some common hop varieties used in Session IPAs include Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo.
How is a Session IPA Brewed?
The ingredients used to brew a session IPA are similar to those used in a traditional IPA. The main difference is the amount of malt and hops used. Session IPAs have a lower alcohol content, which means less malt is needed to achieve the desired flavor. The hops used in session IPAs are typically high in alpha acids, which give the beer its bitter taste. However, session IPAs use fewer hops than traditional IPAs, resulting in a less bitter taste.
Some of the common ingredients used in brewing session IPAs include:
- Pale malt
- Caramel malt
- Wheat malt
- Crystal malt
- Flaked oats
- Cascade hops
- Chinook hops
- Citra hops
- Mosaic hops
The brewing process for session IPAs is similar to that of traditional IPAs. However, the key difference is the amount of time the beer is boiled. Session IPAs are typically boiled for a shorter period of time, which results in a lower alcohol content. The brewing process for session IPAs typically involves the following steps:
- Mashing: The malt is mixed with hot water to create a mash, which is then heated to extract the sugars from the malt.
- Boiling: The mash is then boiled with hops for a period of time. The length of time depends on the desired bitterness and flavor of the beer.
- Fermentation: Yeast is added to the boiled mixture, and the beer is left to ferment for several days. During this process, the yeast consumes the sugars and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide.
- Conditioning: After fermentation is complete, the beer is conditioned for several weeks to allow the flavors to develop and the carbonation to settle.
- Bottling or Kegging: The beer is then bottled or kegged and is ready to be enjoyed.
Popular Brands of Session IPAs
Session IPAs have become increasingly popular in recent years, and many breweries have started to produce their own versions. Here are a few popular brands of Session IPAs:
|All Day IPA by Founders Brewing||4.7%||42|
|Easy Jack by Firestone Walker Brewing||4.5%||50|
|Go To IPA by Stone Brewing||4.8%||65|
|DayTime IPA by Lagunitas Brewing||4.0%||54.2|
Founders Brewing’s All Day IPA is a popular Session IPA that is available year-round. It has a low ABV of 4.7% and an IBU of 42, making it a great choice for those who want to enjoy a few beers without getting too intoxicated.
Firestone Walker Brewing’s Easy Jack is another popular Session IPA that has a low ABV of 4.5% and an IBU of 50. It has a citrusy and hoppy flavor that is perfect for those who enjoy a refreshing beer.
Stone Brewing’s Go To IPA is a Session IPA that has a slightly higher ABV of 4.8% and an IBU of 65. It has a hoppy flavor with notes of citrus and pine, making it a great choice for those who enjoy a more intense flavor profile.
Lagunitas Brewing’s DayTime IPA is a Session IPA that has a low ABV of 4.0% and an IBU of 54.2. It has a light and refreshing flavor with notes of citrus and pine, making it a great choice for those who want to enjoy a few beers on a hot summer day.
Pairing Session IPAs with Food
Session IPAs are a versatile beer that can be paired with a variety of foods. They are light-bodied, low-alcohol beers that have a hoppy flavor and aroma. The hoppy flavor of a Session IPA can complement spicy, bold, and flavorful foods. Here are some food pairing suggestions for Session IPAs:
- Spicy foods: Session IPAs can help balance out the heat of spicy foods. Try pairing a Session IPA with spicy Mexican or Thai dishes.
- Grilled meats: The hoppy flavor of Session IPAs can complement the smoky flavor of grilled meats. Pair a Session IPA with burgers, sausages, or grilled chicken.
- Seafood: The light-bodied nature of Session IPAs makes them a great pairing for seafood. Try pairing a Session IPA with fish tacos or grilled shrimp skewers.
- Salty snacks: The hoppy flavor of Session IPAs can also complement salty snacks like pretzels or potato chips.
When pairing Session IPAs with food, it’s important to consider the intensity of the flavors. A heavily hopped Session IPA may overpower more delicate flavors, while a lighter Session IPA may not stand up to bold flavors. Experimenting with different pairings can help you find the perfect combination of flavors.
Session IPA is a beer style that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a beer that is designed to be enjoyed in larger quantities than traditional IPAs, making it a great option for those who want to enjoy a hoppy beer without feeling overwhelmed.
Session IPAs typically have a lower alcohol content than traditional IPAs, which means that they are perfect for those who want to enjoy a few beers without getting too drunk. They are also a great option for those who want to enjoy a beer during the day without feeling too heavy or bloated.
Overall, Session IPAs are a great option for anyone who loves hoppy beers but wants something a little lighter and more refreshing. They are perfect for enjoying with friends during a summer barbecue or for sipping on while relaxing in the sun. So next time you’re looking for a beer that is both flavorful and refreshing, give a Session IPA a try!
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