Bottom of the Bottle. | Lagunitas Daytime Ale.

In by Pete SalomoneLeave a Comment

Popular as they are, Session IPAs are the bastard child of the beer world. A session beer of any kind is intended to be drunk all day, meaning scaled-back ABV and flavors to accommodate quantity. India Pale Ales are Pale Ales with added hops and alcohol, initially to allow the beer to make the trip from the British Isles to India. These two ideas stand in stark contrast: session means to cut back while IPAs are meant to beef up. Enter: Lagunitas Daytime Ale.

Lagunitas Brewing Company have been around awhile, making a varied selection of quality beers since 1993 and seeming to specialize in IPAs. Daytime allows this expertise to shine through, as they’ve made the best session IPA to which my palate has been treated. Where many of my favorite breweries have fallen short, Lagunitas has soared, using the typical shortcomings of a session ale to their advantage.

Keeping the body and ABV down, Daytime is high on aromatics, and brighter citrus. Sure, reducing the body has taken some of the more dense malts or fuller fruit flavors to go with them, but I didn’t miss them a bit. Where some bigger IPAs might fill out their flavor profile, Daytime takes advantage of these losses and focuses on what’s left, making the tart lemon notes meld beautifully with the light bitterness its hop blend leaves behind.

Session IPAs are something I’ve begun to avoid entirely, as I didn’t see a way I could enjoy their inherent contradiction. Lagunitas’ Daytime has changed my mind entirely. Not only would I be thrilled to pound a pile of Daytimes, I’d be pleased to enjoy only one.

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