Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saranac Session IPA

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (679) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 19, 2012
I’ve always thought describing an IPA as "sessionable" was a fallacy. Beers of this style are deliberately hoppy and hops aren’t refreshing and can dry you out. Saranac Session IPA is about as close as we’re going to get to making an IPA with genuine taste that you can drink multiple servings of without wearing out your palate or your metabolism.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a shaker glass.

Appearance: Gold to pale yellow color; crystal clear body with plenty of carbonation visible. Forms an average size, white, soapy head which mostly dissipates but leaves nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light citrusy aroma with floral fragrances and a hint of black pepper like a saison.

Taste: I wasn’t expecting a robust, complex palate out of Saranac Session IPA, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got one. Distinct hop bitterness right from the get-go followed by slightly tart citrusy flavor, especially of lemon and some orange. The second half is very pleasant as it has a malty nuttiness to the palate often found in British pub style ales. It’s reminiscent of something you’d taste in a darker ale rather than an IPA. It’s a pleasant sweetness and balances out the palate quite nicely and effectively. There’s a tiny hop bite right at the end, but the finish is completely clean (with a hint of lemonpeel). I’m genuinely taken aback by how delectable the palate is. I definitely could go for another.

Drinkability: All arguments over where to draw the line in defining "session beer" aside, let’s just say Saranac Session IPA would be more aptly described as "Saranac Sessionable IPA." At 4.7% ABV it’s a tad too big by either American or British standards to be a true "session beer." So while it may not live up to the letter of the law, it definitely meets the spirit of the law criteria. The thin, but crisp, mouthfeel makes it very easy to drink. The citrusy qualities and balanced palate make it actually quite refreshing, and the clean aftertaste would have me coming back for repeated servings.

Grade: 8/10

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