By Joshua M. Bernstein - Slashfood.com, July 06, 2009
You can't always judge a beer by its color.
Exhibit A: the Session Black, the latest release from Hood River, Ore.'s employee-owned Full Sail. At first blush, the raven-hued brew looks like a stomach-stoking winter warmer, best sipped during a blustery blizzard. Yet that's a failure of a first impression.
Session Black, sold in retro 11-ounce stubbies that recall Red Stripe, is foremost a thirst-zapping lager, clocking in at a relatively mellow 5.4 percent ABV. "Session Black is short, dark and totally drinkable," said Jamie Emmerson, Full Sail's executive brewmaster. This follows the template Full Sail set with its original Session (so named because you can drink several without getting rip-roaring drunk). It's a full-bodied, all-malt lager of the sort crafted in the early 20th century, before Prohibition sent American brewing to the Stone Age.
But how does it taste?
But that's a different digression. Concerning Black, don't bother pouring the inky potion into a pint; it's far more pleasurable to crack the cap -- look for the rock, paper, scissors symbols underneath -- and cradle the glass hand grenade, preferably after swimming or mowing the lawn.
Black's perfume is an intoxicating muddle of roasted malts and Cocoa Puffs, childhood pleasures in an adult package.
As for the taste, please strap in your taste buds: The crisp tongue-tingler rides a flavor roller coaster across caramel and chocolate, with tangy floral hops hiding in a rear seat.