A tale of sessions, tables, days and one light beer that saved the day

I’m a huge fan of Double and Triple IPAs, especially anything that can be called a hopbomb. I enjoy the big punch in face hop bitterness and flavor paired with a nice alcohol bite. So needless to say I was a bit wary to taste, nevermind brew a low alcohol beer. Although I’ve found most commercial ‘session’ offerings a bit tame, it’s most often because the brewers chose to tone down the flavor of the hops. For my taste, this just doesn’t work. With that in mind, I was quite happily surprised when I sampled Wachusett’s Light IPA. I’d really like to recommend you try it, but this has not yet been commercially released as far as I know. I was lucky enough to sample it at a beer tasting at a local Wegmans. So why go on and on about a Light beer that doesn’t even exist?

First and foremost because I would like it to. I had spent some time at the Wachusett table but put off trying the Light IPA until near the end. Having never heard of such a thing, I was both curious and afraid. So much stigma surrounds the idea of low-calorie beer. In the end I think I tried it twice. It was really surprising how much flavor it had considering what I’d already subjected my palate to. There were many great double IPAs being served at this tasting, almost all of which I tried and greatly enjoyed. For example, I had a few tastes of Hopulence by Wormtown, Heelch O’ Hops by Anderson Valley, and The ABC’s by Jack’s Abby. There was no way a Light beer was going to taste good, right? But it did and I hope they can this beer and give it a life outside of tastings and samplers.

So I can’t buy this surprisingly amazing beer… but I am brewing it! Well, ok not exactly the same beer, but something that resembles it and at least shares the nuances of aroma, flavor and drinkability. I’ll be honest, mine won’t technically qualify as a Light beer per the requirement of a specific caloric threshold, but partial credit for taking three giants steps in that direction. I really wasn’t able to get much detail on the grain bill or hops used in the original Wachusett beer, so I had no choice but to make up a recipe based on what I remembered of the sample as well as my malt and hop preferences. As I write this it sits in secondary dry hopped to the max and already hugely aromatic, delicious and drinkable. The ABV came in around 4.2% with a projected 60 IBUs. I’m really excited to see how this one comes out.

Should everyone try Light, Session or Table beers? I’d say yes, but ideally at a tasting or festival where you’re not investing in a six-pack or bomber. Since my Light beer epiphany, I’ve boldly tried a few more of the like from other craft breweries. Results? Not so great. In general, they taste ok, but also as the legend alleges, like they were watered down. Wachusett’s Light IPA defies the odds and really does taste great. With any luck, my homebrew will as well. If you like the idea of lower ABV, fewer calories and 150% of the hop aroma and flavor, defy convention and brew it. If your palate’s like mine, the traditional guidelines for balancing a beer often feel a bit conservative and restrictive. Get creative and you may just find a new favorite in a very unexpected place.


About mrhopsbeertalk
Avid homebrewer and craft beer taster. I love all the hops I can get. #hops #ipa #iipa #ipl #porter #dipa #specialtyale #saison #craftbeer western mass · mrhopsbeertalk.wordpress.com

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