We recently released a new beer sure to please those drinkers who enjoy nice hop character, without excessive bitterness or lack of balance. Our American Session Ale is a truly American take on our beloved British Bitter. While the bitter (an English pale ale) is made with British malts and hopped with East Kent Goldings, the American Session Ale is made from all American malted grain and hopped with El Dorado, a variety developed less than ten years ago.
Like our bitter, the American Session Ale is a modest 4.2% alcohol and just 40 IBUs. It fits perfectly with our philosophy of full-flavored session beers that always keep the malt and hops in perfect balance.
A few years ago, brewers of IPAs began to develop beers that would appeal to session beer drinkers. With many IPAs coming in around 7% alcohol, they were not the best choices for those who wanted to enjoy a few pints with friends. These brewers began making session IPAs coming in around 5%. Unfortunately, some of these beers were hugely hopped and bitter, but somewhat thin.
Our approach is to make a balanced beer with enough malt structure to support a generous hop load. And the hops are used in such a way as to highlight flavor and aromatics without imparting a tongue-punishing bitterness.
A short digression on dry hopping … the American Session Ale is dry hopped with the same El Dorado used at each stage of the brewing. Those who homebrew know that hops are added at multiple stages during the boil. The earlier the hops are added, the more bitterness they impart. The later the hops are added, the more flavor they impart. If you crush a hop cone between your fingers, you feel an oily resin and smell some intense notes of fruit or flowers or herbs. The compounds responsible for those aromas are quite volatile and will dissipate quickly in the presence of high heat. Dry hopping (not dry at all, as it turns out) is a way to capture those divine scents. Hops steep in the cool beer for several days or so. The result is intense aromatics.
The smells and flavors of El Dorado hops are very enticing. Overall there is an intense note of candied fruit. You might detect apricot, peach, melon, citrus, berry, tropical fruit, wild flowers, and caramelized notes of honey.
Come down for a balanced pint that combines malt presence and delightfully fruity hop characteristics. Like all our beers, it invites civil consumption and rewards every civil drinker.
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.