Friday, June 6, 2014

The Session #88: Introducing the Northern California Lightplater

Let us begin this month's Session with a toast to Boak and Bailey  who saved our long running Session streak by volunteering to host it at the 11th hour.  And kudos to them for picking a throwback topic of Traditional Beer Mixes, taking us back to the days when The Session was more about drinking a beer and writing about it rather than the more recent topics that have mostly involved waxing philosophically about beer.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I must confess that I've never had any of traditional beer mixes mentioned in their Session announcement. So for this beer cultural conscience raising experience, I decided to experiment with the Lightplater, a mix of a bitter and light ale by putting a Northern California spin on it.  I've enjoyed Anchor Brewing's new spring Saison release with its tangy lemon character.  For the bitter, I chose the Northern California version of the traditional bitter, the session IPA that's all the rage these days.   One of my favorite session IPA's is Lagunitas Day Time IPA.

Anchor Saison and Lagunitas Day Time IPA, poured
in a Gordon-Biersch glass to complete the
Northern California vibe for the Lightplater
I figured a 50/50 mix of Anchor's tangy Saison and Lagunitas bitter IPA would create an Asian-like vibe with a balance of bitter and sour.  And indeed, mixing the two created that yin yang of flavor.   What I didn't anticipate was a strong fruitiness to the combination, with the result tasting like a liquid Asian bitter melon.   (Never mind that I've never actually eaten Asian bitter melon.)  Perhaps that is part of the hidden beauty of beer mixes, the combination creates unexpected results that neither component contained itself.

Maybe the bigger question is this:  "Is it possible to create this beer with these flavors from a single mash, boil and fermentation?"  My guess is the answer is no, but I'll leave those questions to the experts.  I'm too busy enjoying a refreshing Northern California Lightplater to worry about stuff like that.

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