Session beers are getting a pretty lousy rap these days, especially since every brewery is trotting their own version out (When you think about it, what craft brewer hasn’t produced one of these? Dogfish Head, Bell’s, Harpoon, Abita, Anchor, and Great Lakes are the only ones that come to mind.). As I may have mentioned before, I tend to like these beers as I tend to be a fast drinker and a large gulper, so I knock back a beer rather fast and the low ABV of a session allows me to stay coherent for a longer stretch of time.
Anyhow, there has been a backlash against craft breweries making these low octane beers, as well as the beers themselves. They either taste like nothing or they are too weak or they just add needless calories to your stupid body but without the alcoholic impact that would ordinarily stop you from drinking too much and making bad life choices, like that time you hooked up with the chick from your English lit class and she got clingy because she thought it meant something else and all of your friends made fun of you and when you tried to explain that you didn’t want a relationship and she cried and called you an asshole and keyed your car but you couldn’t prove that because there were no witnesses and your friend Aiden is no longer allowed to hang out with you because he’s dating her friend Lindsey and you could swear that she was following you around campus but there was never anyone there when you turned around but that squirrely guy from your floor that always wore a fedora.
So, I like session beers. I particularly like the good session beers and usually, good brewers make good versions. Ballast Point, it of the Sculpin IPAs and Grunion pale ale, enters the race with Even Keel, a sub-4.0 percent IPA with a highly complex flavor profile thanks to a blend of 10 malts and six hops. It seems excessive to use that many ingredients but not anymore excessive than the girl from English lit.
It bares a strong resemblance to Ballast Point’s Sculpin, in that it has a wonderful tropical fruit aroma and flavor. In this case, dry hopping imparts these flavors creating a far more robust flavor than expected from a session beer. At 3.8 percent, it’s light enough to justify drinking all six cans before the night ends.
According to Ballast Point, this will be available all year long and that’s a good thing because the world needs complex, robust beers that keep you from doing stupid things, like registering for English lit.
Brewer: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
Beer: Even Keel Session IPA
ABV: 3.8% IBU: 40
Container: 12 oz. can
Price: $11.99 (purchased as a six pack) Point of Purchase: Abe’s Cold Beer, Bethlehem, Pa.
To The Eye: Orange with a thick head that dissipates into a nice lacing. Unfiltered.
To The Nose: Big lemon, orange and tropical fruit aromas.
To The Palate: Nice carbonation, light body and thinner mouthfeel. A very complex range of flavors from biscuit to citrus. Very enjoyable. Very drinkable.
Aftertaste: Crisp and dry.
Boozy Factor: Session.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 8.5