Whomever thought of taking one of the most popular styles of beer and lowering its alcohol to allow for “drink- more ability” deserves a gold star, as shown by the strong popularity of the session IPA. Ever more breweries are making these easy drinking, big, bold, hoppy flavored beers—with all the ibus hop heads love but half of the abv.
Classic IPA’s and double IPA’s balance the bitterness of hops with the sweetness of malt, but extra malt elevates alcohol into the 7-9% range. That’s pretty high for an extended drinking “session.” The best lower alcohol IPA s manage to retain bitter hop-forward flavor but also keep it in balance despite less malty character and less body from alcohol. Here is a six-pack of my favorites.
Founders “All Day IPA”
Grand Rapids, Michigan
From a producer known for one of the best IPA’s in America, this was one of the first on the scene and is still at the top with its citrusy, piney version is true to the brewery’s form.
(4.7% ABV, 42 IBUS)
Oasis Brewing “Meta Modern”
Two outstanding hop varieties—citra and mosaic—make this one of my favorite texas examples.
(4.5%ABV, 45 IBUS)
Ballast Point “Even Keel”
San Diego, California
One of the most popular producers of san diego style IPA, ballast point was one of the first on the scene with their well-balanced, citrus and American hop-forward style.
(3.5% ABV, 50 IBUS)
Deep Ellum “Easy Peasy IPA”
Released just a few weeks ago, this beer is sure to become one of DEBC’s most popular. The welcome addition of tangerine and lemon peel play perfectly with the pacific northwest hops in this beer.
(5.2%ABV, 40 IBUS)
Oskar Blues “Pinner”
The welcome bits of tonguein-cheek humor on this label (referring to the throw-back nature of this, plus a little one-liner on the smoking of blunts) is well noted in the piney, cannabis-like nature of the hops.
(4.9% ABV, 35 IBUS)
Firestone Walker “Easy Jack”
Paso Robles, California
Easy jack is the session version of firestone Walker’s flagship beer.
A true cocktail of hop varieties spanning the globe from europe to
New Zealand. Spot on hop and malt balance.
(4.7% ABV, 50 IBUS)
Reprint from TEXSOM presents SOMMELIER Volume 000, pages 42–43