Wooden Hand Dab Hand Session IPA (500ml, 4.5% ABV)

Wooden Hand have been around since 2002, brewing in Truro, Cornwall. For 2017 they’ve decided to rebrand: gone are the previous, rather murky, bottle labels, and in their place is something lighter and fresher. The graphics now feature silhouettes of hands in different configurations and making various gestures (no, not that; or that). This beer, Dab Hand, features a sadist torturing a starfish.

It’s a typically pale beer in the glass, with an aroma of bready malt and orange. By the time it’s on the tongue the malt tastes more biscuity and is joined by citrus with a laid-back nectarine/apricot character. As befits the ‘session’ tag, the body is light and the alcohol relatively low. It’s a lively, bubbly beer, and drops down the old gullet very easily. There’s a bit of spiciness in the finish, but nothing like the bitter hop-wallop of a full IPA.

Which brings me to the question: isn’t a session IPA really a just PA? There’s nothing wrong with pale ales – Burton upon Trent built a brewing empire on such things. But I can’t blame Wooden Hand for jumping on the IPA bandwagon – everyone’s doing it, and some of them are a lot less strong and hoppy than this example.

If you’re looking for a lighter take on the famous Indian export, but without the headache-inducing alcohol levels, this one might fit the bill nicely.

Written by Richard Salsbury

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