An interesting seasonal twist
A Review of Session Fest Lager by Full Sail Brewing Co.
Posted on 11/24/2011 by Chops
It's always a rewarding moment when a good beer catches you by surprise. It wasn't long ago when I experienced Full Sail's Session Premium Lager. In the overly bloated lager market, Session was an eye opener. I immediately added it to my arsenal of crap beer alternatives, the beers I direct novices to when they ask for a better beer. From there I tried Full Sail's Session Black Lager, another home run. So now that Full Sail has my undivided attention, it's time to taste another one of their creations: the seasonal Session Fest Lager.

In the glass, this beer has a standard amber hue. On the nose, you find that signature sweet malt of a good amber with some mild spice notes. Lurking underneath the initial aroma was a very interesting smell that took me a while to grasp. Then it hit me: grapes. White grapes to be exact. This beer actually smells like a baseline chardonnay. Wow, talk about one unexpected intro.

I had no idea what to expect from that first sip, so I dove in with no expectations. The beer has a pale-like hop profile with a slightly chalky mouthfeel. I couldn't really formulate any solid stylistic opinions because it tends to shift between a pale ale and an amber. Not saying it's a bad beer, quite the contrary actually. It's just hard to get a grip on. The finish is fairly bitter and leaves a malty aftertaste consisting of caramel notes. The mouthfeel smooths considerably as the beer warms, so if you find the pale hop profile a little distracting, just let it sit for a few minutes before diving in.

Overall, Full Sail's Session Fest Lager is a very interesting beer that freely plays with stylistic boundaries. While I can't give it high marks for the amber style, it's certainly a tasty beer that I can recommend to all levels of beer fan. Full Sail has definitely made a positive impression on me, so I'm not one to dismiss the Session Fest Lager as experimentally odd. It's certainly atypical, but in this case it's not a bad thing. Just enjoy it for what it is: an interesting seasonal interpretation of the amber style.

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Session Fest Lager by Full Sail Brewing Co.
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