Grizzly Paw: Rundlestone Session Ale (Canada: Session IPA: 4.5% ABV)
Visual: Grain yellow. Thin ripe banana skin touched head that leaves suds. Clear body with no evident carbonation.
Nose: Prickly bitter hops, lightly done. Kiwi and lemon sherbet. Very crisp.
Body: Good clean bitterness. Dry malt back. Mild caramel and soft lemon. Soft toffee and lime notes.
Finish: Fudge. Hop air. Chocolate notes. Kew lime pie. Light bitterness.
Conclusion: Ok, first if I can get out of the way my ever evident pedantic and over opinionated nature. Session beers should be below 4% in my ever so humble opinion – I have given a lot of ground in this fight over the years in the fact of abv increases all around, but still I think for the perfect session beer it holds true. However, with that said, this is sessionable as hell.
It keeps the body fresh and crisp the entire way through – lager like in feel but with a real high quality crisp bitterness. It just slips down – and, even better, as seems to be common so far in Canada, the carbonation – while present – is minimal so you don’t get bloated. For that last point your experience may vary depending on where you drink it, but at the brewpub it used just enough to keep it crisp.
The trick seems to be that while it has a whole mound of flavour, it keeps it soft. The fruitiness and sweetness is gently applied, as if dragged across your tongue on a velvet cloth. Metaphorically. If it was literal that would be horrible.
It reminds me of a ramped up version of “How To Disappear Completely“, despite being a far lighter coloured beer, and the extra weight of abv really overcomes what I found to be the few weak points in that beer. The toffee and fudge notes are soft but solid enough that the feel feels like it has weight rather than feeling empty at the core. The fruitiness feels akin to a good pale ale, but without as much hop kick.
If this had been below 4% I would have called it the perfect session beer. As is it is a damn good session beer.
Background: Had to work hard to get this one, I first hit the Grizzy Paw Brew Pub on a Sunday. Which turned out to be the Sunday on a three day weekend. It was insane busy and I ended up having to give up. The next day, thankfully I managed to grab some beer and poutine. By the way their poutine was the best I had in Canada, very nice indeed. This has an IBU of 28, and I was amused that despite being called a “Session” beer, it was only 0.5% abv lower than the vast majority of their range. A lot of Canadian beers seem fairly tightly clustered around the 5% abv. Ratebeer seems not to like this beer, odd, ah well, also they call it a golden ale – possibly, but session IPA seemed closer for me so I went with that.