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Everything You Need To Know About Session IPAs

300 years of beer history in one smooth drink. Saddle up to New Belgium Brewing's Slow Ride Session IPA, sip the history, and #GoSlowMo.

1. Both Session and IPA styles originated in England.

BBC One / /

But the creation of the pale ale in the 1700s was the spark for either. New boiling methods led to lighter malts than ever before.

2. Back then, the newly minted pale ale didn’t travel too well, so India Pale Ale was presented as the solution.

By reducing the sugars and increasing the hops, it significantly decreased the chances that beers would arrive spoiled in India.

3. IPAs are all very pale, but bitterness and alcohol levels both tend to be medium, medium–high, and high.

In numbers, that means the most IPAs have a paleness of about 6–14 SRM, bitterness in the 35–100 IBU range, and Alcohol By Volume (ABV) somewhere in the 5–10.5% range.

4. About 200 years after the rise of the IPA, the Session beer started making the rounds. /

It's brewers' answer to laws restricting drinking sessions to four hours.

5. But there are only two common threads in any Session beer: It tastes good, and it has less than 5.1% ABV.

So the only thing about IPAs that doesn't apply out of the gate is the medium to high alcohol content, although Session beers typically rate around 1–4 SRM (extremely pale) and 10–30 IBU (barely bitter at all).

6. Which means making a Session IPA simply requires the hoppiness of IPAs, but at a lower ABV than normal.

7. And the low alcohol requires a whole bunch of hops. // BuzzFeed / shutterstock

You'll typically be getting five or more kinds of hops in one beer, mixed in both during the beer's boil and after to ensure it's bitter and full of the essential oils that make it smell hoppy.

8. But the variety means you’ll be able to find many Session IPAs year-round.

9. So it all adds up to a delightfully hoppy beer that won’t knock you back with the full force of an IPA.

It's four-hour sessions of IPAs with all of the motor function.

10. Better still, it pairs with everything you can pair an IPA with.

BuzzFeed / Shutterstock

Since session beers aren't restricted by flavor profiles, it matches with all the same starches and spices you've always matched up with your IPAs.

And that means New Belgium Brewing's Slow Ride Session IPA lets you #GoSlowMo and enjoy any session — no matter how awkward your pairings might end up.

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