Langham Session IPA (500ml bottle, 3.8% ABV)

I’ve said it before: the session IPA is a strange beast. IPA is traditionally three things: strong, hoppy and pale. Take the strength away, and you’re left with something hoppy and pale, but many brewers lower the hop content in the quest for ‘balance’, and whether a beer qualifies as pale can be a matter of opinion.

Langham’s Session IPA, however, fits the bill in the truest sense. It’s low in alcohol at 3.8%, but properly pale (a light golden colour) and properly hoppy, with Amarillo, Bravo and Cascade in attendance.

The aroma doesn’t really prepare you for what your taste buds are about to experience. It has a muted tropical smell, but nothing like what you’d expect from a modern US IPA. But take a sip and all that changes. The hops seem to take their time, as if arriving on the tide, but when they wash in you’re met with a big wave of grapefruit and orange. It’s also surprisingly bitter for its strength, but this only helps with the flavour: it wouldn’t be the same beer without it.

The body is light and (as the label claims) this makes for a very quaffable beer. The finish is unbelievably long – hoppy, dry and bitter.

Bottled beers under 4% are often a little underwhelming compared to their cask counterparts. Not this one. It’s got flavour for weeks.

Written by Richard Salsbury

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