OK folks, so I’m sure that you know by now that I’m not a big fan of so-called “Session IPAs”. Most of them are thin malty, and by design. They feature the modern namby-pamby tropical fruity hops, and those don’t fare as well against a thick caramel malt backbone. I don’t mind one of these as the first beer of the night, but I can’t session them. They’re just too thin in body. Those that I have enjoyed the most feature classic resiny-citric hops over tropical fruity hops.
Wait, did he say resiny? Yes, resiny! And maybe that’s why I so enjoyed Sweetwater Hash Session IPA. Finally, a “session IPA” I can actually session! Of course, this is really a pale ale, not an IPA, but when a beer bursts and ozzes sticky resin tar the way this one does, I can forgive that.
What is hop hash? See the chart below, but basically it is hop-oil laden residue from the pelletizing process that makes really great beer. Sweetwater’s first hop hash beer was Johnny Hash Double IPA, part of their Dank Tank Series and made with Citras. That beer worked so well that a regular member of the Sweetwater family, Sweetwater Hop Hash Double IPA, followed soon after. Hash Brown Hop Hash Infused India Brown Ale was next in the lineup, and today we have Hash Session.
Sweetwater says this about Hash Session on their website:
The star of the show here is the hops, specifically the hop hash! We kept the malt bill light to allow the hops to shine through.
We dosed this sucker with a boatload of Amarillo Hop Hash. Pungent with floral, tropical citrus fruit flavors and the hop hash gives it that one of a kind chewy, gooey, resiny mouthfeel. As the chase, we are giving it a hefty dry hop to enhance the potent aromas. Ahtanum gives it orange and grapefruit tones, Crystal for a little kick of spiciness, and El Dorado bringing some pear and watermelon characteristics.
Ingredients from the website:
Grains: Maris Otter, Pilsner, Wheat, Midnight Wheat
Hops:Bravo, Amarillo Hash, Ahtanum, El Dorado, Crystal
Sweetwater Hash Session IPA has an alcohol content of 4.2% by volume, pretty darned close to the established session standard of 4% and under. It has 55 IBUs and I paid $5.50 for a 20-ounce mug at Taco Mac. It sells for $9.99 a six-pack in bottles or, best value yet, $17.99 a 15-pack in cans.
My mug of Sweetwater Hash Session IPA arrived a beautiful golden color with a thick fluffy head and a wonderful earthy, herbal, grassy, green hop intensity in the nose. The malt is rather thin but those earthy hops just explode here with thick resiny pine tar and an intense dry-hop infused aroma. No namby pamby fruit loop hops to be found here. A big bad bitter hop finish is icing on the cake.
This is the best “session IPA” I’ve ever tasted. Now, I’ve made my preferences well known for earthy herbal grapefruit resiny hops, so your mileage may vary. That said, this is a session IPA anybody can sink their teeth into.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.