What Is A Session IPA?

The craft beer world is brimming with diverse styles and flavors, each with unique character and appeal. Session IPA has garnered significant attention for its balance of hop-forward flavors and approachable alcohol content. But what exactly is a Session IPA, and what makes it distinct from other Pale Ales? Keep reading to find out. 

Why Do They Call It A “Session” IPA?

The term “Session IPA” combines two key concepts:

In beer, a “session” refers to a drinking period during which multiple beers are consumed without overwhelming the drinker. The term originates from British pub culture, where patrons would spend several hours (a session) drinking lower-alcohol beers. The goal is to enjoy several pints without becoming overly intoxicated, thus enabling extended social interaction and enjoyment.

IPA stands for India Pale Ale. It’s a style of beer that’s known for its bold hop character and higher alcohol content. Traditional IPAs are celebrated for their intense flavors and aromas derived from hops, including bitterness, citrus, pine, and floral notes.

A Session IPA combines these two ideas, offering the hop-forward characteristics of an IPA but with lower alcohol by volume, typically ranging from 3% to 5%. This makes it suitable for extended drinking sessions.

What Hops Are Used In A Session IPA?

Hops are the star of the show in any IPA, and Session IPAs are no different. The choice of hops can greatly influence the beer’s flavor, aroma, and overall experience. While there’s no strict rule on which hops must be used in a Session IPA, certain varieties are commonly favored for their vibrant profiles. Some popular hops that are used are: 

  • Cascade: Known for its floral, citrus, and grapefruit aromas, Cascade is a classic American hop that adds a refreshing quality to Session IPAs.
  • Citra: True to its name, Citra hops provide intense citrus flavors, often described as lime, grapefruit, and tropical fruit notes.
  • Mosaic: A versatile hop that offers a complex array of flavors, including tropical fruits, berries, and earthy characteristics.
  • Amarillo: Valued for its orange, lemon, and floral notes, Amarillo can impart a sweet, citrusy aroma to the beer.
  • Simcoe: With its pine, earth, and berry notes, Simcoe adds a rich, resinous character to the beer.

These hops, often combined, create a layered and dynamic flavor profile, making each sip of a Session IPA a refreshing and aromatic experience.

What Do Session IPAs Taste Like?

The taste of a Session IPA is where it truly shines, offering a hop-forward experience without the high alcohol content typical of traditional IPAs.

Hop Aroma and Flavor

The prominent characteristic of a Session IPA is its hop-forward aroma and flavor. You might encounter citrusy, floral, piney, or tropical fruit notes depending on the hops used. The aroma can be inviting and invigorating, setting the stage for the flavor experience.

Balanced Bitterness

While IPAs are known for their bitterness, Session IPAs aim for a balanced approach. The bitterness is noticeable but not overpowering, making the beer more approachable and enjoyable over multiple servings.

Light to Medium Body

Session IPAs typically have a lighter body compared to their stronger counterparts. This lighter mouthfeel contributes to their drinkability, allowing for a crisp and refreshing finish.

Malt Backbone

To balance the hop bitterness, Session IPAs include a malt backbone that adds a touch of sweetness and complexity. This malt presence is subtle but essential for a well-rounded flavor.

Overall, a Session IPA offers a refreshing and flavorful experience, perfect for those who love hops but prefer a lower-alcohol beer that can be enjoyed over a longer period.

Try Diebolt’s Session IPA: Colorado Greenback

Diebolt Brewing Company is based in Denver, Colorado. We’re known for crafting diverse, high-quality beers that reflect both innovation and tradition. This is why we’ve decided to re-release our Colorado Greenback Session IPA. Enjoy the rich hop flavors of citrus, floral, and piney aromas that tastefully grow into dry, bitter grapefruit flavors.

Green can of craft session IPA with fly fishing image against mountains
Diebolt’s Colorado Greenback Session IPA: not too hoppy, not too malty, and tame enough to quench your thirst all day long. Enjoy responsibly, of course. 

Whether you’re a seasoned craft enthusiast or new to the world of IPAs, Colorado Greenback offers a refreshing and satisfying experience that showcases the best of Colorado’s brewing talent. Try Diebolt’s Session IPAs today!

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