You folks know I love the session beers, mm-hmm. So when Full Sail put out word that they were making a Dark version of their successful Session Lager, I got in touch and asked 'em for a sample. They sent three 11 oz. stubbies, and I'm getting into them tonight.
Lemme tell you a little story first, about why Full Sail decided to brew Session Lager -- about as "macro" a beer as you'll find from a "micro" -- in the first place. Got this from Jamie Emmerson at Full Sail (from an article I did for American Brewer).
“We had some guys working on the house,” Jamie recalled, “and Friday afternoon we brought some Full Sail out for them. But they said ‘No thanks, no thanks.’ Then we see them a few weeks later, and they’re drinking Tecate. So it’s not that they’re cheap. We asked them, ‘Why not Full Sail,’ and they tell us that it’s too heavy, it’s too bitter.Yeah, it is. A little on the large side for my session beer definition -- 4.5% and under, and this is 5.4% (or 5.3...accounts vary) -- but definitely drink-o-matic. The dark malt actually gives it a slightly tart/burnt edge that cleans it up, a little smoke/roast thing, but not much. With the stubby bottle -- 11 oz., weird, but that's the old Olympia size -- it reminds me of Yuengling Porter.
“So I said to Irene,” he said, as the light went on, “we could make a craft lager that could go up against those beers, and it’s the thing to put in that bottle. We worked up a pre-Prohibition pilsner. It’s 5.1% ABV, mostly pale malt, a little bit of wheat, 20 IBU. That took a lot to get dialed in. It was a fine line on how dry the beer had to finish. If you think Heineken is dry, but Corona is sweet, that’s a fine line. It’s all attenuation and mashing.”
Best of all, it’s working. “The response has been great,” he said. “My dad, an old school beer drinker, says it’s just good beer. If you enjoy micro, there’s enough flavor and character; if you don’t, you’re not put off by the color or flavor. The Germans have a saying that the first beer calls for the third. That’s what this beer is about.”
Great little bottle, I miss steinies. I'd drink quite a few of these. I'm really curious to find out what market they land in. Will local-homer macro-lovers drink a dark beer with this much flavor? Time will tell. I'm going to have another, myself.