They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor

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Full Sail Session Lager

, Beer sellers: The

ABV: 5.1%
Origin: Hood River, Oregon, USA
Website: www.fullsailbrewing.com

Session Lager

While beer geeks are bedazzled by the extremities of American brewing, it’s important to remember that the pheonomenal growth of the craft beer sector in the USA is mainly based not on hop bombs and wood aged weirdness but on much more everyday brews of the sort that offer a simple quality alternative to mainstream industrial brands. The  inspiration for many of these is drawn from the era before Prohibition in 1919, when a far more diverse and regionalised brewing industry, much of it run by people of German-speaking descent who still followed traditional practices, provided local drinkers with local beers that often enjoyed intense brand loyalty.

Take Full Sail, founded as one of Oregon’s pioneering new breweries and brewpubs in 1987 in a former cannery in the small but picturesque port town of Hood River, on the Columbia river east of Portland. It’s now one of the state’s most successful craft brewers and an employee-owned company. It makes its share of hoppy pale ales, big beers like a well regarded barley wine and eccentric specials, but since 2005 its mainstay has become a modest, good quality golden lager simply known as Session Lager, packed in attractive 11oz (325ml) “stubby” bottles with a distinctive retro label. The brewery adds to the fun, and underlines the sociability, by printing paper, scissors and stone symbols on the underside of each crown cap.

Session Lager is an unpasteurised, all-malt brew that’s been named Best at the World Beer Awards and was recently voted Best Craft Lager by users of popular US beer news website thefullpint.com. It’s a yellow-gold beer with a fine white head and a soft cereal aroma throwing off slightly citric hop notes and very light varnishy esters.

A very creamy and full but light palate has the emphasis on cereal malt but with a tasty citric hop note and something of an earthy, sacky character developing. There’s a lime twist to a refreshing citric finish, with wholesome chaff and nice rounded hops. It’s modest and approachable but the quality is clear.

I sampled my bottle, by the way, in the unlikely surroundings of the famous Horse Brass in Portland, one of the US’s oldest established speciality beer venues, decked out in what now appears an artfully kitsch rendition of an “olde worlde” provincial English pub of the 1970s (readers of a certain age will wonder if they should order chicken in a basket).

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