Beer Profiles: Aurochs Session IPA
The Aurochs Session IPA is one of our favorite and most popular beers here at the brewery. It is also one of the beers most widely available because it is canned here at Aurochs and distributed through our wholesale partners, making it available at retail.
The first beer we ever brewed and released was our Aurochs Blonde Ale. At the time, everyone asked if we could also brew something hoppy. Could it be done well and done gluten free? Could it be done with the grains and malts we were using? The answer was ultimately yes, but there were some early challenges we needed to overcome. The result of overcoming those challenges was our approachable, aromatic, flavorful and sessionable IPA.
Brewed with a mix of pale, light and crystal malts of millet and quinoa the Aurochs Session IPA has a light, crisp and slightly bready malt base. It sits at a drinkable 4.5% ABV and has a very clean finish. Hopped with Cascade and Centennial hops, this beer has a traditional IPA profile and a low but present hop bitterness at 47 IBU. We utilize multiple hop additions throughout the boil to imbue the beer with an array of bittering, flavoring and aromatic qualities. For those who don’t know, IBU stands for International Bitterness Unit and is a good indicator of how bitter or hoppy a beer will be.
It is common beer knowledge that IPA is short for India Pale Ale. The background and definition of sessionable or session beers, is a bit less understood. You can piece together a better idea of what the term encompasses by checking out these definitions from CraftBeer.com and Beeriety. I especially recommend this explanation from Beer Advocate, which includes some colorful history of the term.
What seems to be consensus is that session beers are approachable, drinkable, lower alcohol beers that can be enjoyed during a variety of times and occasions. The term probably originated in England where beers that are low in alcohol and high on character are the norm.
We believe session beers are a great way to introduce or re-introduce people to the world of craft beer because they are flavorful and unique – coming in many different styles – but do not overwhelm the pallet or your sense of sobriety. Our Aurochs Session IPA is no exception – introducing new people to more hop forward beers – and most importantly to us, introducing those who are gluten free back to great beer.
One of the early challenges that we faced when we first attempted to brew more hop forward, IPA style of beer was balancing the body and malt base of the beer with the bittering hop character that makes the style notable. Given the variety of malts we were using and learning how to brew with – millet and quinoa malts – the body of our beers were on the thinner side, more in line with sessionable beers. This made creating an gluten free, hop-styled beer more appeal because we were able to balance our light bodied, lower alcohol base with an approachable but dynamic hop profile.
As we have grown, we have become more adept at adding different hop characters, IBU, body, new flavors and different malt profiles into our beers. It has aloud us to explore and brew new and more challenging IPAs. But the Session IPA is were we got our start and remains one of our very favorites. This is my go to beer for many occasions. I feel it pairs well with many types of cuisine – though candidly I rarely turn down food or beer in any combination. Try it with some tacos, TexMex or something with some slight heat for starters.