Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Saranac Session Ale

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (912) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 25, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker glass. It had a best before date of 10/31/13. It came in a summer seasonal mix pack which cost $13.99 ($1.71 per bottle or $0.10 per ounce).

Appearance: Clear pale body not unlike a lager. Carbonation visible. Forms a small, white, soapy head which almost completely dissipates and doesn’t leave much lacing.

Smell: A hint of lemon with notes of pale grain and a cat food-like aroma I’ve encountered in other blondes. Thankfully the nose is quite muted.

Taste: I don’t know what it is about pale beers like blonde ales, golden ales, kolsches, kellerbiers, and cream ales. They all tend to taste the same to me and few are genuinely interesting. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of the styles, but a lame beer is still a lame beer at the end of the day. I tend to enjoy Saranac’s beers more than most people, but their "Session Ale" doesn’t do much for me. There’s not much flavor to it and what’s here is a bit odd. It’s not so much a bad beer as it is boring.

Generic blonde ales tend to have a base malt flavor that’s the ale equivalent of the generic lager taste. It’s difficult to describe because its inherently bland. Not much in the way of hop character or bitterness (which would’ve been nice, actually). Slight biscuity notes on the back end, but otherwise it’s mild. I don’t get any flaws or overtly off-putting flavors, but there’s nothing here that interests me. Not sure why they chose this recipe as their "Session Ale" because I wouldn’t want to drink this in a large quantity over an extended amount of time.

Drinkability: While the flavor may not be exciting, Saranac Session Ale is at least drinker-friendly. The mouthfeel is thin, but energetic, with a wet sensation to it. Slightly refreshing while in the mouth with an aftertaste that’s mostly clean but with just a hint of pastiness. It actually feels like a bigger beer than its 4.5% ABV weight would otherwise indicate. Since you only get two in a mix pack, drinking both of them back-to-back is no challenge, but certainly isn’t a session (not that I’d want more than two anyway). 
Grade: 4/10


  1. "There’s not much flavor to it and what’s here is a bit odd." Perfect description, and I like some of the lighter styles. Most of the beers in that summer box were a miss, IMO.

    Dave S

    1. Actually, that was the only one I didn't like. I thought the wild hop pils was surprisingly good.