Session India Pale Ale brewed with Citra, Galaxy, Columbus, and Cascade hops. 4.5% ABV
Rivertown Brewing Co., LLC, Lockland, OH
By Bill Lau
Posted September 1, 2014
Contrary to what some may say, Labor Day weekend does NOT mark the end of summer; we have until the autumnal equinox (Sept. 22nd at 10:29 pm EDT this year) to enjoy and celebrate summer. I bring this up because session IPAs have occupied center stage of my summer beer drinking, and I’m still enjoying them immensely. I’m not quite ready for the Oktoberfests, which are always released beginning in August; and I’m certainly not looking at pumpkin beers yet, even though I see that some of them are already on the shelves. Personally, my palate won’t be ready for pumpkin beers until close to October, when it’s officially autumn.
So, back to session IPAs. I first tried this on draught at the Rivertown tap room, which occupies a portion of the front of the (much expanded since they opened a few years ago) brewery, as part of a flight of beers. It really stood out to me at the time, filling that deep need for a strong dose of hops. Recently, I saw a six pack of bottles at the store while I was specifically browsing local/regional beers. For me, this includes Dayton, Cincinnati, and the surrounding areas, all the way over to Athens and Lancaster, southeast of Columbus. At any rate, I immediately liberated the Lil SIPA from its retail imprisonment, and can happily report on it in detail here.
Poured into my stemmed RTB logo glass, Lil SIPA was a clear, deep straw-gold hue with a bright white head of thick foam.
The aroma was all hops. Delectable, citrusy, floral hops with a hint of pine. A distinct orangey note was reminiscent of triple sec or Cointreau liqueur.
The body leaned towards the moderate side of light with a spritzy effervescence on the tongue.
The flavors delivered what the aromas promised – generous hops, with lots of citrus; bitter orange, grapefruit zest, some floral, citrus blossom notes, and pine. Crackery malt rode underneath. A pleasing bitterness gradually built then sustained through a finish of sticky hop resins. Beautiful! Don’t look for a whole lot of balance with this one; it’s definitely tilted toward the hop end of the beer flavor spectrum. And that’s what I love about session IPAs.
Damn fine beer, and a great example of how a lower alcohol beer can still deliver big flavors.
Rating: Appearance: 5/5 Aroma: 9/10 Palate: 3.5/5 Flavor: 8.5/10 Overall: 17.5/20