Looking back a couple of years, it might have been a pre-game pint of Bitter American at the 21st Amendment brewpub in San Francisco. Or sometime early last year when I had Demolition Ale at Triple Rock in Berkeley, a “Nor Cal Bitter” as they describe it. Whatever the beer was, by the time I tried Ballast Point Even Keel earlier this year, it seemed that the “Session IPA” style was here for good, and I love it.
I love hops to death, but lately, i’ve been drifting away from big IPAs. The increased alcohol and sweetness taxes the palate, and I’m just not as into mouth-coating bitterness as much as I used to be. A lighter, dryer pale ale with an expressive hop bouquet and firm, yet not over-the-top bitterness is more up my alley these days.
Anyone else with me? Are we going to see more lower alcohol pale ales with generous hop flavor and aroma? I sure hope so.