Session Ales share a few common traits: low alcohol percentages (generally under 4% ABV), refreshing flavour profiles and a medium to light body. However this doesn’t mean they’re all the same.
The style, which has grown in popularity in recent years, backed by the boom in microbrewing and the craft beer movement in general, it’s been around for about a century and, as thoroughly explained by Martyn Cornell (How Old is the term ‘Session Beer’?), is likely to have derived from the table beers and family ales common in 19th century Britain. After the First World War, legal restrictions on the strength of beer came in place and the opening hours of pubs were reduced to two sessions, one at lunch time and one during the evening time… Long story short, a session beer would be that which can be drunk through the whole session without:
a) Boring the drinker with its dullness.
b) Making the drinker so inebriated that they couldn’t function afterwards.
Dot Brew Session Rye Ale not only complies with what a session beer should do, it manages to go the extra mile by captivating the palate with a delicate yet lively profile that is not just drinkable enough, it’s inviting, refreshing and distinguishes itself from its peers.
Its medium amber hue looks bright and clean. Light in body and with a lean head, its apparent fragility contrasts with the richness and structure it shows once it draws near to your nose: aromas of caramel and brown sugar blend with a subtle touch of vanilla. On the fruit side, apricots appear soon. Toasted hazelnuts and a mild nutmeg spicy touch in the back help to counterbalance the sweetness.
It’s one of the beers I’ve enjoyed the most discovering this summer, and definitively one of my favourite session beers. It is both refreshing and tasty, and it will be as well adjusted under the sun of an Irish mini-heat wave as it will be while shared on a chilly Autumn evening.
And please don’t think this is an invitation to judge a beer by its label, but… How cool is its transparent, sci-fi looking bright yellow design?
Dot Brew Session Rye Ale is available at Molloys Liquor Stores and Martins Off License at €3.95 per 500 ml bottle.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.