This review required a little research on my part. For whatever reason, I had always assumed that the “session” part of a session ale had something to do with the brewing process. Like how long the brewing session lasted. Or something. Yea, yea, sometimes I don’t think things through. Stop judging me.
While there is no solid consensus on the origin of the name, a “session ale” seems to come from the days of the industrial revolution, when workers only had specific, limited times to be social and drink. These sessions would be a much needed break from the work day, and gave the dirty, overworked factorymen a chance to unwind.
One problem with these sessions? The workers had to go back to work afterwards.
So to prevent an entire workforce of extremely drunken men working with heavy machinery in the days long before OSHA, a new beer was fashioned. Usually lower than 5% ABV and featuring supreme drinkability, these session ales were light enough for men to have 4-5 while socializing, but still be able to walk out of the pub.
I don’t have a lot of experience with other session ales, but after drinking 3 Star Island Singles, I definitely want to get some. It’s very, very drinkable, the beer disappears from the glass faster than you seem to be drinking it. This is antithetical to a beer that you’d nurse and savor; it begs you to drink it, and already have another open to refill your glass.
It’s a light orange with a decent head, and an almost non-existent smell. You really have to shove your nose into the glass to get the flowery bouquet of weak hops, yeast, and light malt. It settles quickly, but retains consistent carbonation, giving each sip a bite, like it’s full of microscopic sharks.
In terms of taste, it probably falls somewhere between a full-bodied lager and a weak pale ale. It’s sour but not unpleasant, refreshing but not watery. It’s actually incredibly refreshing. All most too refreshing.
It’s easy to see why this style of beer was popular for drinking sessions. It goes down effortlessly, but it doesn’t get you drunk. I imagine it is what Non-alcoholic beer dreams to be when it grows up. The opus of beer drinkers everywhere: delicious beer that doesn’t get you too drunk.
Well, it does. But you have to drink a lot of it. I guess that’s the point.
8 out of 10.
Next up: Heavy Seas Classic Lager