Beer judge debates session IPAs

AIBA head judge Warren Pawsey

Head judge Warren Pawsey at AIBA 2015

A session IPA may look more like an out-of-balance Pale Ale to abeer judge, says Warren Pawsey of the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).

In an interview at the AIBA, headjudge Pawsey told Radio Brews News that session IPAs – long debated on this website – were a reaction to America’s arms race for bitterness and alcohol.

“My IPA’s bigger than yours, it’s got more hops, it’s got more alcohol,” said Pawsey, who is head brewer of Little Creatures.

“It’s not a very saleable or marketable product.”

The AIBA do not yet include a session IPA category, but the Great American Beer Festival does.

“When you judge them, the style guideline reads like the old Pale Ale, but with this huge hop note and aroma and flavour, but not thebitterness and the alcohol and the body,” Pawsey told journalists at last week’sawards.

L-R: Pawsey and Radio Brews News' Matt Kirkegaard

L-R: Pawsey and Radio Brews News’ Matt Kirkegaard

He said the category’s emergence had perplexed him and his judging colleagues, one of whom declared it was simply “an out-of-balance Pale Ale”.

But while he remains unconvinced that they warrant their own category, Pawsey said there were some great examples of session IPAs.

“Firestone Walker makes a fantastic one,” he said of the Californian brewer.

Episode 54 of Radio Brews News, produced live at Good Beer Week in Melbourne, is available here.

Read more:
AIBA 2015 winners revealed
Pete Mitcham asks, ‘what is an XPA?’

Bridgeport shuns IPA arms race

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