Emily Hutto's picture

Mashing In: Full Sail Session Beers Find Favorable Winds

Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River, Oregon made a name for itself with the Session Premium Lager a decade ago. “Session Premium lager is an extremely tasty import-style lager, like the kind Full Sail Session Cream Beer Connoisseurof beer made back in the pre-Prohibition days,” says the brewery’s website... “plenty of flavor that goes down clean and smooth, we like to call it ‘session-ability.’”

That same session-ability can be found in Full Sail’s Premium Dark Lager — “a dark beer that doesn’t drink like a meal”— and its Session IPA. Full Sail didn’t know it when these beers debuted, but it was well ahead of the curve.

“We saw a long time ago that the race for extreme alcohol and extreme bitterness was antithetical to enjoying several pints with friends, so Session was our answer to that,” said James Emmerson, Full Sail’s executive brewmaster. “We’ve always believed that balance, elegance, and complexity lead to more long term enjoyment than a one-note hop hammer.”

To-date, easy drinking and low-alcohol brews like Session Lager, Dark Lager, and Session IPA are trending. Consumers can’t seem to get enough and journalists like myself can’t stop writing about them. Perhaps that’s why Full Sail didn’t skip a beat with the brand new Session Series that came out earlier this year.

“With ‘sessionable’ beers suddenly all the rage, there’s never been a better time to expand Session’s universal appeal,” said Irene Firmat, Full Sail Brewing Company’s CEO & Founder, in a press release. “Our new Session Series gives Session fans three additional ways to enjoy ‘session-ability’ as their tastes (and the weather) change.”

Full Sail Session Lager Beer ConnoisseurIncluded in the new Session Series are Fest, a Czech-style red lager; Export, a golden-colored Dortmunder Export lager; and the Cream Summer Ale, a smooth and malty cream ale that came out earlier this month.

“The decision on styles to brew for the series was very easy,” said Emmerson. “We have made Fest, a classic holiday lager, a few years now; so filling the rest of the seasonal gap was a lot of fun. Export is a great style that bridges Helles and Pilsner, so it was a natural for spring – more body, good hop flavor, and an interesting malt/mineral backbone.”

“I always wanted to do a cream ale for the Session line-up,” Emmerson added about the latest release. “It’s such a classic American beer style, and it fits perfectly for summer. We’ll use flaked oats for extra smooth creaminess.”

The Fest, Export, and Cream are all available seasonally in 12-packs of the brewery’s famous 11-ounce bottles. Beer descriptions and more details are available here. When I asked Emmerson about future beers in the Session Series he said, “lots of thoughts, but nothing concrete yet.”