BeerNexus.com presents
ALE-CHEMY
       by Jay Eichberger

"ALECHEMY"
the ancient
practice focused
on changing base
ingridents into
liquid  gold also
know as
BEER
e
                            Seriously Sessionable Beers

It’s been about four and a half years since I first purchased my kegerator, or, as I like to call it my
“Hop Rod”.  During this time I’ve purchased roughly twenty or so different beer brands (see list
below). In this article I would like to reflect on some of the great and not so great draft beer
purchases I have made over the years. I’ve learned some lessons that I would like to share with you
the consumer. Each beer listed below is broken down into one of four categories: Notable (but
better off in a case), Sessionable, Seriously Sessionable and Mistakes. The categories are broken
down according to the consumer’s experiences.

Notable (but better off in a case): Well brewed craft beer, brewed with high quality ingredients that
contain too much body to drink several pints of back to back.

Sessionable: Quality craft brew that one can drink several pints of back to back without feeling
too full or too inebriated.

Seriously Sessionable: Extremely well balanced beer that one often would often consider an all
time favorite. This beer is held in the highest regard for allowing its consumer to experience the three
greatest attributes which beer can posses (extraordinary flavor, exceptionally well-balanced body
while providing the consumer with a sense of true delight).

Mistakes: Beer that does not fit your preferred range of styles or flavor preferences. This is the
kind of beer that you would not order twice.


All the contenders:

•        Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Hop Ottin’ IPA
•        Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema
•        Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Winder Solstice Seasonal Ale
•        Avery Brewing Company – White Rascal Belgian Style Wheat Ale
•        Bells Brewery – Oberon Ale
•        Bells Brewery – Pale Ale
•        Bells Brewery – Two Hearted Ale
•        Dogfish Head – 60 Minute IPA
•        Flying Fish Brewing Company  – Farmhouse Summer Ale
•        Lagunitas Brewing Company - IPA
•        Left Hand Brewing Company – Sawtooth Ale
•        The Lost Abbey – Devotion
•        Lost Coast Brewery – Indica IPA
•        North Coast Brewing Company – Ruedrich’s Red Seal Ale
•        Port Brewing Company – High Tide Fresh Hop IPA
•        Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Celebration Fresh Hop Ale
•        Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Pale Ale
•        Sly Fox Brewing Company - Odyssey
•        Sly Fox Brewing Company – Route 113 IPA
•        Smuttynose Brewing Company – Robust Porter
•        Stoudt’s Brewing Company – Scarlet Lady Ale

Mistakes:
•        Avery Brewing Company – White Rascal Belgian Style Wheat Ale
•        Flying Fish Brewing Company – Farmhouse Summer Ale

The fact is we’re all human. Either in an effort to save money or to purchase a brew I assumed my
fiancé would appreciate; I’ve purchased several sub-par kegs. Having resided in the state of New
Jersey since the fall of 2006 I’m sorry to say that the absolute worst beer I’ve ever had the
displeasure of tapping was a 1/2 –Barrel of Flying Fish Brewing Company – Farmhouse Summer
Ale.  Before I loose any more credibility please let me explain the circumstances of the purchase. It
was very hot, roughly 90F in my 2nd story apartment that contained one window air conditioning
unit. In an effort to beat the heat I was searching for a very light bodied and easily drinkable beer.
This particular brew was very light in body, but lacked any real flavor. The second I tapped the
beer and assessed the quality of my purchase I realized that I had made an egregious error. None
of the beers I was truly interested in were in stock at the beer distributor. In my hastened search to
find a good warm weather beer I took a tip from someone who has since lost my “taste trust”.
Buyers beware; never second-guess your taste buds or you’ll suffer the consequences.

While I find every other beer from Avery Brewing Company to be well executed and quite
palatable, the White Rascal possessed none of those qualities.

Notable (but better off in a case):
Please do not misinterpret this category, as I prefer draft to bottle (with very few exceptions). This
category is meant to inform the reader of craft brews that can be a little cumbersome on tap, but
should be considered quality craft brews.

•        Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale
•        Port Brewing Company – High Tide Fresh Hop IPA
•        Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Pale Ale
•        Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Celebration Fresh Hop Ale
•        Sly Fox Brewing Company – Route 113 IPA
•        Sly Fox Brewing Company – Odyssey

Sessionable Beers:
These beers are sessionable, or easily drinkable in quantity.

•        Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Summer Solstice
•        Bells Brewery – Oberon Ale
•        Left Hand Brewing Company – Sawtooth Ale
•        Stoudt’s Brewing Company – Scarlet Lady Ale

Seriously Sessionable Beers:
It’s beers like these that keep people coming back for more.

•        Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Hop Ottin’ IPA
•        Bells Brewery – Pale Ale
•        Bells Brewery – Two Hearted Ale
•        Dogfish Head Brewery – 60 Minute IPA
•        Lagunitas Brewing Company – IPA
•        The Lost Abbey – Devotion
•        Lost Coast Brewing Company – Indica IPA
•        North Coast Brewery – Reudrich’s Red Seal Ale
•        Smuttynose Brewing Company – Robust Porter

If I could offer a key piece of advice to any craft beer enthusiast who enjoys draft beer at home, it
would be this: Think drinkability, and I don’t mean Budweiser. I’m talking about alcohol by volume
(ABV). My experience tells me that the most drinkable and satisfying beers that can be considered
sessionable fall in the 5.5 to 6.5 percent ABV range. Sure, some of the beers I’ve listed surpass the
6.5 percent ABV mark. Please consider this a general rule. Remember this: You don’t want to feel
like you have to psych yourself up to get through that first beer (sorry Sly Fox – Odyssey).  


Disclaimer: Sly Fox - Odyssey is an excellent craft beer, however it’s not what I would consider seriously                  
sessionable. I have much respect for Brian O'Reilly.




              Stay tuned for more Ale-chemy by Jay Eichberger next month!
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