Mendocino Brewing’s been enjoying a lot of recent experimentation- new labels, special beer week blended kegs, and now a new Spring Seasonal! This year’s release, Rock Point Session IPA, is made using a blend of Pale, Wheat, CaraPils, and CaraBlonde malts and Columbus, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops. With an ABV of 4.5 and IBU of 50, it’s the perfect session beer for the longer days of spring. This beer also heralds the first of Mendo’s new landscape labels, each one highlighting a different scene from Mendocino County.
As usual, Mendocino’s Ben Wilkinson was happy to whet our appetite for the new Session IPA.
Why did Mendo choose to brew a Session IPA for this seasonal release?
Ben: Lately, it seems like the trend in beer making in the US has been to continually make stronger and hoppier beers. The session IPA is somewhat of a response to that trend. It provides the hoppy flavor many drinkers have come to expect from craft beer without the high alcohol content. This allows people to have some hoppy beers and still be able to be active, play sports, see a concert, go to the beach, or anything else they may want to do.
What kinds of special challenges come with brewing a lower-alcohol beer?
Ben: The main challenge with a Session IPA is providing a good malt body to the beer so that the hop flavors don’t seem overly bitter or astringent. We accomplish this by the use of Wheat, CaraPils, and CaraBlond malts which provide the beer with more mouthfeel and head retention in addition to their biscuity and toasty malted flavors.
Can you recommend any food pairings for the Session IPA?
Ben: The Session IPA will pair well with all of the foods typically paired with IPAs. The most common IPA food pairings are highly flavorful and/or spicy foods like barbeque, buffalo wings, and curries. As for a unique food pairing that I can personally endorse try our session IPA with Carrot Cake.
What other new brews can we expect from Mendo this year?
Ben: I have heard that we might change our summer seasonal from a Belgian White Ale to a different style altogether. I haven’t heard what that will be yet. As soon as I know, I’ll pass it on.
Sessions or singles?
What do you think about the trend about the lighter beers? Does your taste seem to shift with the season? Let us know in the comments below!
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