breweries have been trying to outdo each other with so-called session
beers, though their definition of “session” tends to be rather loosely
defined. At only 3.4% ABV, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Brooklyn
½ Ale meets the criteria for a session beer. Though what really sets it
apart is that it’s not just another hopped-up pale ale, but a to-spec
saison that has a feel of completeness and authenticity.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. A six-pack was $9.69 ($1.57
per bottle or $0.13 per ounce). It had a best before date of 2/20/15.
Appearance: Pale yellow hue over a hazy body. Some carbonation bubbles
are visible after pouring, though they disappear eventually. Forms a
large, white, soapy head which mostly dissipates, but does leave decent
lacing on the glass.
Smell: Huge spicy hop aroma (most likely Sorachi Ace). Hints of lemon, peppercorn and various spices.
Taste: The palette starts off rather calm with a general light malty
flavor, and then from out of nowhere a huge spicy hop sensation takes
over. The hops and the saison yeast character complement each other
perfectly. It’s a delectable combination of black pepper, lemon pith and
a coriander-like spice. The beer is brewed with orange peel, which
probably accounts for the citrus character (and perhaps the witbier-like
spices, too). There’s almost a wet hop-like hop oily sensation as well
(and I mean that as a compliment). How a beer so light in weight has
such a well-rounded palette without tasting like beer-flavored water is
beyond me. I hope more breweries will take this approach and make small
brews with genuine flavor.
Drinkability: It probably could go without saying that at 3.4% ABV,
Brooklyn ½ Ale is absolutely quaffable and sessionable. But it’s also
genuinely refreshing and has actual body to it. The mouthfeel doesn’t
feel paper-thin, though the carbonation is a tad low. This should be
available in cans as it’d be perfect for the summer months and its
related activities. I’d highly recommend pairing this with seafood or