Session IPA – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Beer Styles Glossary

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I. What is a Session IPA?

A Session IPA, also known as a Session India Pale Ale, is a subcategory of the popular India Pale Ale (IPA) style of beer. The term “session” in Session IPA refers to the beer’s lower alcohol content, typically ranging from 3.0% to 5.0% ABV (alcohol by volume). This lower alcohol content makes Session IPAs more approachable and easier to drink in larger quantities during a single drinking session.

II. What are the characteristics of a Session IPA?

Session IPAs share many characteristics with traditional IPAs, including a prominent hop-forward flavor profile. However, due to their lower alcohol content, Session IPAs tend to be lighter in body and have a more balanced flavor profile. They often feature citrus, pine, and tropical fruit notes from the hops, with a moderate bitterness that is not overpowering. Session IPAs are typically highly carbonated, giving them a crisp and refreshing mouthfeel.

III. How does a Session IPA differ from other IPA styles?

The main difference between a Session IPA and other IPA styles, such as American IPAs or Double IPAs, is the lower alcohol content. While American IPAs and Double IPAs can have alcohol levels ranging from 6.0% to 10.0% ABV or higher, Session IPAs are brewed to be more sessionable, allowing beer enthusiasts to enjoy multiple servings without feeling the effects of high alcohol content. Additionally, Session IPAs tend to have a lighter body and a more balanced flavor profile compared to their higher-alcohol counterparts.

IV. What food pairings work well with Session IPAs?

Session IPAs are versatile when it comes to food pairings, thanks to their balanced flavor profile and moderate bitterness. They pair well with a wide range of dishes, including spicy foods like Thai curry or Mexican tacos, as the hoppy bitterness can help cut through the heat and enhance the flavors of the dish. Session IPAs also complement lighter fare such as salads, grilled seafood, and sandwiches, as their crisp and refreshing nature can cleanse the palate between bites.

V. What are some popular examples of Session IPAs in the market today?

There are many breweries producing delicious Session IPAs that have gained popularity among beer enthusiasts. Some popular examples of Session IPAs in the market today include:
1. Founders All Day IPA: Brewed by Founders Brewing Co., this Session IPA is known for its citrusy and piney hop flavors, with a clean and dry finish.
2. Lagunitas DayTime IPA: Lagunitas Brewing Company’s DayTime IPA is a light and refreshing Session IPA with tropical fruit and floral hop notes.
3. Firestone Walker Easy Jack: Easy Jack is a Session IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Company that features a blend of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit flavors, with a crisp and clean finish.
4. Stone Go To IPA: Stone Brewing’s Go To IPA is a hop-forward Session IPA with bold citrus and pine aromas, perfect for easy drinking.
5. Ballast Point Even Keel: Even Keel is a Session IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company that offers a balance of hop bitterness and tropical fruit flavors, making it a great choice for all-day sipping.

In conclusion, Session IPAs are a popular and approachable style of beer that offers the hop-forward flavors of traditional IPAs in a lower-alcohol package. With their balanced flavor profile and versatility in food pairings, Session IPAs are a great choice for beer enthusiasts looking for a refreshing and easy-drinking option.