This week on Beer Sessions Radio, Jimmy Carbone and Justin Kennedy are joined in the studio by James Tai of Guiness/Diageo and Tony Forder of Ale Street News to talk Session IPAs, extra pale ales, and more.
The term Session IPA describes a category of beers marketed for their hop-dominant flavor profiles at "sessionable" levels of alcohol. While this is typically 3.2-4.6% ABV, a few have stretched the definition. Last year’s 2015 GABF was the first to include Session IPA as an official style category, and it had 161 entries. That was exactly one more than American Pale Ale had in its first year. Obviously in only a couple years Session IPA has become huge.
The Session IPA category is often contentious. Some have argued that many session IPAs are simply American Pale Ales with “IPA” slapped on for marketing purposes. But a definition has slowly emerged that at least codifies somewhat how they are meant to differ.