Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Quartet of Session IPAs to Drink this Weekend in Oshkosh

We have a holiday weekend approaching us, friends. You’re going to want to drink some beer. Let’s be honest, you might want to drink a lot of beer. If that’s your camp, you’ll need a beer built for the long haul. Something companionable you can slurp throughout the day as you think about the yard work you’re not doing. This doesn’t mean you have to resort to Pabst. There’s now a fairly decent selection of session IPAs that are easy to find in Oshkosh.

Session IPAs are lower in alcohol (5% ABV and under) and less bitter than the standard IPA. Sounds like a pale ale to you? It’s not. There’s none of the balance of that style. Session IPAs tend to have heaping additions of hops at the tail end of the brewing process. Those late additions give the beer a hop flavor and aroma that dominates its profile. We started seeing a few beers in this vein come to town last year. This spring and summer we’ll see a pack of them. Enough of the prattle, let’s taste some beer. Here are four session IPAs you can pick up on in Oshkosh.

Central Waters Hop Rise Session Ale
Of the four beers here, this one would be the best pick for the IPA fan who craves bitter. Light bodied with a pungent, grassy aroma this beer delivers the most bitterness of the bunch. The hops come across as mostly citrus and pine and you can just forget about the malt. Very refreshing at first, but the bitterness tends to build. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if that’s your thing. Hop Rise Session Ale is 4.5% ABV.

Founders All Day IPA
Here’s the beer that really got the whole session IPA trend going. And it comes in cans. I like that. The aroma of this beer is huge. Again with the citrus and pine along with a dollop of pineapple that gets somewhat catty as the beer warms. There’s a light, sugary malt flavor that doesn’t save the beer from being somewhat thin on the palate, but that’s entirely appropriate here. This beer is eminently drinkable with a beautiful, juicy hop flavor and almost no residual bitterness. This will be a great one for summer. All Day IPA is 4.7% ABV.

Goose Island Endless IPA
I’ll spare you my snide comments about Goose Island and their loathsome parent company and get right to the beer. Here’s another ale with a beautiful aroma and one that’s unique. A wafting floral scent – think fresh cut roses – oozes from the beer. The flavor is light and fruity, lemony even, with a grainy bit of malt lurking behind the mellow hop flavor. The beer finishes exceptionally clean. Overall, it could use just a bit more oomph, but it’s not bad at all. It’s certainly quenching. Endless IPA is 5%ABV.

Wisconsin Brewing Company Session IPA
Here’s the most balanced beer of this flight. The aroma is a pleasant mix of honey-like malt and earthy hops. A persistent pine note threads through the toasty malt flavor making this beer less of a one-trick pony than the others. It also has the most body of the bunch, though it’s still quite light. This seems to takes its cue from the malt-balanced, Midwestern IPAs that were popular before the West Coast style became predominant. I’m starting to think this might be something like the Labatt’s IPA they were drinking in Oshkosh back in the 1950s. In any case, this would be ideal for an extended session. WBC’s Session IPA is 4.8% ABV.

You’re likely to see most of these beers at the standard depots, but when all else fails, head to Festival Foods where you can find them all in the same place. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment