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12 New-Style IPA Brews Perfect For Summer Days

Jeremy Kosmicki, brewmaster at Founders Brewing Co., is a Session IPA pioneer. “I wanted the hop characteristic I crave with the flavors and aroma of an IPA -- all while dialing down the alcohol,” Kosmicki said of the company's All Day IPA, released in February 2012. Credit: Copyright 2015 Founders Brewing Co.

Jeremy Kosmicki, brewmaster at Founders Brewing Co., is a Session IPA pioneer. “I wanted the hop characteristic I crave with the flavors and aroma of an IPA -- all while dialing down the alcohol,” Kosmicki said of the company's All Day IPA, released in February 2012. Credit: Copyright 2015 Founders Brewing Co.

Call it the ideal summer quaff for India Pale Ale lovers: This beer packs hop flavor, yet you can drink a few at a time — and still mow the lawn. Meet Session IPA: It delivers flavor characteristics similar to a standard IPA, but it’s less boozy than American and Imperial IPAs — by as much as half — maxing out at 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). It’s an American phenomenon.

Session IPA is the fastest-growing style in the U.S. craft beer market. At the end of 2010, three Session IPAs were available on U.S. supermarket shelves. By mid-May 2015, that number had grown to 43, market researcher IRI said. What happened? IPA lovers increasingly wanted a beer that delivered lots of hop flavors — but not all the booze. “People were saying: ‘Why does it have to be over 7 percent all the time?’ ” said Jeremy Kosmicki, brewmaster at Founders Brewing Co., a Session IPA pioneer.

By definition, Session IPA ranges from 3.7 to 5 percent ABV. “The trick is to get enough body and backbone to balance out the hop aromas, while keeping the alcohol level down without tasting thin or watery,” said Jack Harris, co-owner of Fort George Brewery.

Click through the following slideshow to find 12 Session IPAs worth trying.


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Main photo: Jeremy Kosmicki, brewmaster at Founders Brewing Co., is a Session IPA pioneer. Credit: Copyright 2015 Founders Brewing Co.



Zester Daily contributor Roger Fillion is an independent writer and editor … and an accomplished home cook and bread baker, with a special interest in craft beer, wine and olive oil. Roger also works as a social media specialist for specialty food companies. He has spent more than two decades as a journalist writing for major media outlets such as Reuters, the Denver Post, MSN.com and the Rocky Mountain News, where he spearheaded coverage of Colorado’s brewing industry.

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