TheCorkStops (53) - Connecticut, USA - JAN 13, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
A collaboration brew from Stone Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing, and Kelsey McNair, a home brewer. This is a beer that never really made it to my area of Connecticut, but we had a few bottles from a store in Massachusetts. This was brewed and released about a year ago. Iím curious to see how theyíve held up.
The twelve ounce bottle releases a little bit of a ďpopĒ as I break the seal. The brew pours out a great golden-straw color, with a bit of haze. Plenty of carbonation makes for a bright white foam, that lasts quite a long time. The lacing is mild, but sticks forever.
Just as I pour the Session Ale, I can already smell the hops. Of course Iím not surprised, considering Stone is involved. The nose reveals an interesting combination of light citrusy hops, as well as more in-your-face bitter hops. I let the beer warm a little bit and swirl is quite strongly, because Iím trying to find something else in the nose to describe. After several minutes, the only thing I can smell is still the hops!
When I take a sip, the hop complexity changes a little. The nose was dominated by the citrusy hops, but the palate is dominated but the rough and aggressive bitter hops. This beer is over a year old, and it feels like it was bottled yesterday. The bitterness of the hops is mouth-filling, and almost mouth-numbing. I take a few sips, swirl it in my mouth, and Iím going to walk away for a few minutes to see if it changes at allÖ
As it warms up, and I come back for a few more sips, the San Diego Session Ale has definitely opening a little. The hops is not quite as mouth-numbing. Or maybe my mouth is numb, and I canít tell that it is still super hoppy. I think this may be one of the most hop-intense beers I have ever tasted. That is to say, Iíve tasted really hoppy, bitter beers before, but they usually have more of a subtle malty backbone. This San Diego Session Ale is hops, hops, and more hops.
I can understand that the lower-than-average alcohol content, 4.2%, makes this a bit of a session ale. However, as a malt-man, I could not possibly drink more than one of these. As a matter of fact, I only poured myself half a bottle, and Iím seriously considering not finishing it. Iím not saying itís a bad beer at all, but it is nearly 100% the exact opposite of my preferred style.
kp (10886) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - DEC 25, 2011
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Name: San Diego Session Ale
Date: October 06, 2010
Source: Duckworthís Stone Tour
Appearance: clear copper, wispy white head, drippy lace
Aroma: big sweet crystal malt aroma, lots of citrus, touch of sweet pine
Flavor: light sweet malt flavor, lots of citrus, touch of crystal sweetness, just enough balancing bitterness, touch of liquid hops
Overall: huge ipa aroma on a lighter pale ale makes a unique take on a session berr and I like it
Aroma: 8/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 6/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 13/20
Score: **+ /4
Markm2151 (280) - toledo, USA - DEC 24, 2011
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. When I first opened it, it overflowed and spilled out of the bottle from carbonation. I had not shaken it, or otherwise agitated the beer, so it was a little surprising. The head was white and fizzy, the aroma was hints of grapefruit and citrus. Med bitter, light to no malt on the palate. Light amber orange color. Overall, it was a little thin, over carbonated, with a light aroma. This is like IPAs little brother, so a good intro for those afraid of crazy hopped beers.
markwise (4175) - North of Tampa, Florida, USA - DEC 21, 2011
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Thanks to IBrew2or3 for sending this one along. Cheers, Dave! Pours a hazy caramel orange with a white head. Nose is big and bright- reminiscent of a West Coast IPA. Nose is pine and floral hops with bits of honey, malt, and some grassy notes. Nice nose. Flavor reveals a bit of a mirage- I know the point is a session beer. I get a little bit of malt followed by some floral and herbal hops with bits of grass and very mild citrus. Light to medium and a decent session beer, but the nose gives an impression that the flavor is a bit more intense.
DYCSoccer17 (3210) - Woodland, California, USA - DEC 15, 2011
2.3 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 9/20
Iím not sure, but I think this beer should be retired. Looks like it was released about 16 months ago. I purchased 2 12oz bottles at Ledgerís in Berkeley. Each label was slightly different, and each beer was on sale for $1.99 a piece. Both bottles opened with loud fizzes and the foam came pouring out the top. Both bottles poured with a huge foamy head. The aromas on both of these are faint, metallic, grassy, and stale. Definitely some vegetal hints. Surprisingly, thereís still some decent hoppiness in this beer late. Almost an herbal and minty bittering. There are some light citrus notes to begin with and a bit of an astringency in the middle. This is well past its prime, and I would avoid buying this if you happen to see it anywhere. I debated whether or not to rate this due to its age, but I think I will rate it if by chance someone sees this rating and it saves them the money.
5000 (5982) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - NOV 23, 2011
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle:   Bright straw, a little hint of ornage, large foamy white head, nice lacing, little
carbonation.   That is one nose of pure hop juice.   Very aromatic hoppy aroma.   Wow, tiz really
hoppy on the tongue.   Seems lighter than others in terms of body, but has tons of hop flavor.   Could
use a bit more sweetness, and perhaps a touch more malt.   As is, its very hop sided.   Not has heavy as
an IPA, rightly so.   However, so dominated by hop aromas and flavors that I wished it were a bit
heavier/maltier.   Either that or tone down the abundance of hop aroma/flavor as its making this beer very
one sided, and not very sessionable.   Body and mouthfeel are average.   Hop flavors linger long... but
thats it.   Its almost a one sided wonder.   Its great they get such aroma and flavor out of a lighter
beer, but its almost too overpowering.   Yeah, just bring up the malts a bit, add a touch of sweetness, and
this is pure gold.   Decent, but just too lopsided for my tastes.
Dogbrick (7107) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - NOV 3, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a hazy yellow color with a thick and fluffy white head that recedes very slowly. Patches of lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of floral hops, citrus and malt. Light to medium body with a citrusy hops character and caramel malt undertones. The finish is mildly hoppy with orange peel notes left behind. Above average session IPA overall.
iowaherkeye (2684) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - NOV 1, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
$3 at New Beer in NYC. Here I thought this was a true session beer--didnít realize it was an APA. Mostly clear orange with a one finger off-white head, fading to a clingy thick ring and miniscule film. after a minute. Citrus pulp and pineapple hops up front (though faded due to--how old is this?) Flavor has the aforementioned hops with a little pine and passionfruit added, a little yeast, and light crystal malt sweetness. Still manages to hold its hops together quite well (only a little oxidized hops noted), and Iím assuming this is at least a few months old. Bravo. Bitterness peaked at a 3, dry finish. Light body with light to moderate smooth carbonation. Pretty tasty. Having this fresher would no doubt improve my score.
aveclaudenum (31) - California, USA - OCT 24, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
From the bottle - purchased at Good Beer in New York. Nice sharp bite on the tongue - lots of citrus namely grapefruit. Goes down very smooth. Could be a bit heavier but thatís just my preference. Over all a good ale.
guzzler67 (1474) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - OCT 12, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bright amber appearance with an average size, off white head and decent lacing. Aroma is soft fruit ( a bit peachy) dominated by spicy, citrusy hops. Hops dominate the taste as well; big, bitter doses of grapefruit and other citrus, punctuated by pine and pepper, with a modest, grainy malt backbone. Medium bodied, well carbonated mouthfeel with a bitter, dry, long lasting finish.