The last few weeks have been absolutely gorgeous in Fayetteville. Warmer weather is upon us, and outdoor activities are on everyone’s list of things to do. Yard mowing, garden planting, tent camping, river running – it’s all fair game this time of the year. And as the seasons change, so does our taste in beer. Stouts and porters are exchanged for wheats and pales. Brews that are light in body and easy to drink are what we want this time of the year.
Session IPAs have made their way into the warm weather conversation as of late. They are the low-alcohol cousin of traditional IPAs, providing hop heads a smart alternative when we are out in the sun working up a sweat. Sure, wheats and lagers will do the trick; but once you’ve crossed the line towards hop-forward beers it’s hard to venture back. Hops are what we crave, and hops are what we must have – no matter the temperature or the day’s agenda.
The problem with traditional IPAs is that they tend to push the ABV limits, with many approaching 7-8%. A couple of those will render you useless when it comes to getting stuff done. All of a sudden the couch and the remote control sound a lot more appealing than the shovel or the rake. While that’s not a problem at 8pm, it’s a real issue in the middle of the day. Session IPAs bridge the gap between your morning eggs and your evening indulgence.
Founders All Day IPA is a great example of this emerging style. The Grand Rapids, Michigan beer is available in cans and bottles and weighs in at a modest 4.7% ABV. The label art contains an image of a wood-paneled station wagon with a canoe strapped to the top – the perfect tone setter for the beer’s ultimate use. The marketing spiel provides more context:
A session IPA is a class of craft beer with the same hop-forward aroma and flavor as a traditional IPA, but with a lower amount of alcohol and a lighter body.
This emerging style is a nice warm-weather option for craft beer fans who want to enjoy a few drinks without feeling bloated or groggy. Session beers packaged in cans are perfect for dropping into a cooler and enjoying a tasty drink in the summer sun.
Session IPAs typically found on shelves in Fayetteville include Boulevard Pop-Up Session IPA, Founders All Day IPA, Schlafly Can Sessions IPA and Sierra Nevada Nooner. Anyone willing to drive up I-49 (formerly I-540) to the Missouri border can find other popular options like Stone Go To IPA and Lagunitas Daytime IPA.
“The beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains, and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.”
I recently picked up a 15-pack of All Day IPA in cans. Yes, you read that right – a 15-pack! At just a few pennies over $20 after tax, this is a fairly good bargain.
Poured into a shaker glass, the beer was straw-colored with a thin white head. Pungent hop aroma – including floral notes and grapefruit pith – jumped out of the glass, immediately reminding me that this was indeed an IPA.
Floral and citrus characteristics also dominated the taste, along with a sharp but pleasant bitterness. The malt character was light and cracker-like in nature – just big enough to keep the hops from being overly astringent.
The beer finished clean and crisp, with a slight bitterness lingering on the tongue.
Founders is new to our market, and we’re lucky to have them. Along with All Day IPA you can find Centennial IPA (for IPA traditionalists), Dirty Bastard (a Scotch-style ale), and Porter on retail shelves. Several seasonal beers and special releases can also be found from time-to-time – most notably Breakfast Stout and its barrel-aged sibling, Kentucky Breakfast Stout.
But perhaps no Founders beer is more appropriate for the season than All Day IPA. It’s a quaffable IPA with plenty of flavor, and it won’t render you groggy and useless when participating in your favorite warm weather activities. I highly recommend this one for your next camping trip or day at the lake.