Last week we introduced you to the newly minted Session Beer Month, a celebration of flavorful brews with low alcohol content. Despite restrained ingredient additions, the new generation of session brews don't taste like your father's bland lawnmower beer. In fact, some flavorful, classic beer styles are being resurrected under the session beer moniker.
It's increasingly common to find options such as Berliner Weisse and Gose beers on local shelves. Both styles land in the 3-to-5 percent alcohol range, but display wildly unique flavor profiles. While both are wheat-based beers, a gose is brewed with spices and salt, and a Berliner Weisse makes use of souring bacteria. One of the most recently buzzed about Bay Area session beers is Bear Republic's Tartare, a bracingly tart 4 percent Berliner Weisse with strong notes of lemon and Chardonnay.
For our part, we love the concept of packing as much hop character into a low-alcohol beer as possible. A refreshingly hoppy pale ale or IPA is the perfect beer for warmer weather, but consuming a string of 7 percent ABV IPAs over the course of a sunny patio drinking session can quickly become debilitating. Drake's Alpha Session to the rescue! This "Nor Cal Bitter Ale" packs a walloping dose of hops into a 3.8 percent ABV package. Simcoe hops contribute a piney aroma while Citra hops lend a citrusy grapefruit character. A light, biscuity malt backbone lets the hops shrine through, and a clean finish leaves you wanting another pint.
Alpha Session is now available in four-packs, perfect for your afternoon session. Be sure to head to Drake's on May 25th for the 1st Annual NorCal Session Fest, a celebration of beers in the 4.5 percent ABV and under alcohol range. Go small or go home.