14 Great Session Beers
Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale: A 5.6 percent ABV ale, this brew has a very attractive roasted malt nose. The flavor profile shows off nice caramelized malts, with a touch of dark chocolate and a bit of vanilla. The finish leaves a nice roasted grain note on your tongue.
Bayrischer Bahnhof Leipziger Gose: Pours a lovely unfiltered bright gold with a long lasting creamy white head. This 4.5 percent ABV German beer has a slight fruit aroma that opens to a wonderful sharp flavor combination. Hints of dark skinnned fruit and some spices, and finishes with a solid dry note.
Chuckanut Dortmunder: Golden-colored beer with a clean crack of hops in the initial flavor. The malt quickly balances things out, leaving a refreshing aftertaste in this 5.5 percent ABV Washington brew.
Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale: Plenty of smooth flavor from a 5 percent ABV pale ale. Pours a bright copper color with a sturdy tan head. Aroma offers a slight sweetness that is paid off in the flavor. Very drinkable ale, with drying hops emerging in the finish that urges you to take another gulp.
Flying Bison Aviator Red: This 5.2 percent ABV beer is a dark ruby color with a fluffy head that thins fairly quickly. The beer has a nice caramelized malt character, coating mouthfeel and a decent level of balancing hops.
Fuller’s London Pride: Pours a copper color with a healthy off-white head. This 4.7 percent ABV ale has a nice hop aroma and good amount of caramelized malt in the flavor profile. If you want to experience British bitter, this is a good place to start.
Geary’s Pale Ale: Pours a classic pale ale copper-amber glow with a rich creamy off-white head. Slight hop aroma and the beer opens with a touch of fruitiness before the Cascade, Mount Hood, Tettnang and Fuggle hops take control. Nice level of hop bitterness throughout this Maine ale, with hints of roasted malt around the edges.
Hitachino Nest White Ale: Pours a cloudy yellow with a fluffy lacing white head. This 5 percent ABV Japanese beer starts as you would kind of expect from a Belgian-style white ale, with a slight apple note to the nose and a crisp citrus flavor bed that has traces of coriander. Then a flavor starts to emerge that at first hinted at smoke, but appears to be the nutmeg used in the recipe.
Mendocino Black Hawk Stout: A thick creamy tan head and a rich roasted aroma open this dark-as-night 5.2 percent ABV stout. Plenty of coffee and dark chocolate notes. Big, filling brew with a rich mouth feel and some burnt grain notes in the finish.
New Holland Mad Hatter IPA: Full rich hop nose and flavor in a 5.25 percent ABV golden amber package. Great floral notes throughout the beer. The rich head stands firm throughout, lacing the glass.
Pikeland Pils: This 4.9 percent ABV beer from Pennsylvania pours a bright golden color with a lacing white head. Spot on for the style, the malt is clear in the aroma and initial flavor, with hops taking over in mid-palate. The finish is dry and slightly grassy.
Rogue Mocha Porter: This 5.1 percent shows off the coffee primarily in the aroma. Pours black with a decent tan head. Plenty of roasted grains, with hints of cocoa and coffee in the flavor.
Samuel Adams Boston Ale: Wonderful tarnished brass color and lacing off white head. This stock ale is 4.9 percent ABV. Malty, caramel nose. Nice caramelized malt flavor bed with mild hop and a light fruity finish.
Full Sail Session Black: Pours a nice rocky tan head and offers a malty aroma. A lovely dark mahogany color and very drinkable 5.4 percent ABV black lager with a good caramel malt base and a slight amount of balancing hop bitterness.
Rick Lyke is a native of upstate New York who has been writing about beer since 1980. He contributed to the recently released book 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die.