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presents…

JAK’S picks a selection of isolation-approved moderate ABV beers

Every three months, What’s Brewing gets together with JAK’S Beer Wine Spirits to create a new installment of our Tasting Panel series. This episode, for the first time ever, we reviewed session beers! More about the style below.

MEET THIS ISSUE'S TASTING PANEL

Lundy Dale: Founder, BC Craft Beer Month, Pink Pints Vancouver, CAMRA Vancouver. Past President, CAMRA BC.

Warren Boyer: BJCP Certified award-winning home and commercial brewer, past President CAMRA Vancouver, member of Pacific Beer Chat

Abby Wiseman of Small Batch Magazine reviews food & drink around Vancouver.

Carnell Turton of Breward Inlet: if the beer isn’t good he’ll say it.

Adam Chatburn: home and commercial brewer, WB columnist and past President of CAMRA Vancouver.

Note: neither What’s Brewing nor JAK’S Beer Wine Spirits bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists.

WHAT IS A "SESSION BEER"

Trending upwards rapidly over the last few years, low- or no-alcohol drinks may have found their ideal moment in 2020 with the advent of isolation and its related tendency to overconsume at home. In that spirit, our Tasting Panel is set to assuage the guilt of pandemic drinking. For the first time, we’re pleased to review a handful of “sessionable” moderate ABV beers, perfect for enforced cocooning.

To most in the modern craft beer scene, the term “session beer” means “beer with lower alcohol content.” It should be noted that the etymology of “sessionable” is “style suitable for a drinking session” where one drinks the same beer repeatedly. In other words, true session beers are “drinkable”, as reflected in the chart below. You therefore wouldn’t apply the term to an extremely sour beer, for instance, regardless of alcoholic content. Keep this in mind in case you ever run into a 4% ABV Flanders Red Ale.

HOW JUDGING IS DONE

Our unsanctioned competition uses a Zagat-like 30-point rating with a weighted scale based loosely on the BJCP Scoresheet. One of the great things about this format, as opposed to a simple 5-star blogger rating, is that it forces panellists to put more work into evaluating details of the flavour, balance and overall impression before scoring each category.

Panellists are instructed to give an honest rating, not a sugar-coating. As reflected in their scores, some panelists will love a particular beer and others will truly dislike it. Sometimes that’s influenced by factors that aren’t completely within a brewery’s contrul, such as freshness, or just a bad product sample. This is one of the reasons we have a panel rather than just one reviewer: it helps reduce the impact of factors like packaging flaws and personal tastes.

THE WINNERS

Howe Sound’s Mango ISA just edged out the competition to take our coveted blue ribbon. “India Session Ale” is a term that debuted in the 2010s, popularized in BC by Central City Brewing with its Red Racer ISA, since renamed for clarity as seen above.

Appearance: 3 points – Colour, Clarity, Turbidity, Legs.

Aroma: 6 points –
Aroma of fruit, etc.

Palate/Mouthfeel: 3 points –
Mouthfeel, Texture, Carbonation, Astringency

Flavour: 8 points –
Sweetness, Fruitiness, Tartness, etc.

Overall Impression: 10 points – Enjoyment, Flaws.

TOTAL: 30 POINTS

INDIVIDUAL SCORES

CATEGORY SCORES

A general overview of how these beers did as a group.

SCORE BREAKDOWN

Panel scores include these five categories. For a full list of individual scores, see above.

ENJOYMENT

Pie chart tip: start at top of legend and work clockwise from the 45-degree mark (3 o’clock).

BALANCE: MALT VS. HOP

DRINKABILITY

What’s Brewing welcomes our new Tasting Panel sponsor!

JAK’S BEER • WINE • SPIRITS

Since 1981, we’ve worked to provide a community-first experience in our stores across British Columbia.

Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, Richmond, Campbell River, Penticton and Willams Lake!

Find your location at www.jaks.com

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