Lawson’s Finest Liquids Super Session Series Aims to Educate Drinkers on Hops
The marketing trend of low-calorie, low-carb, low-ABV India Pale Ales continues to gain popularity and prominence in craft beer. While breweries are just now creating recipes for these types of IPAs, Lawson’s Finest Liquids has been way ahead of this trend since the launch of their Super Session Series in 2015.
Sean Lawson, CEO and founder, of Lawson’s Finest, created this series with one goal in mind. He wanted each beer in the series to feature one single hop variety. Each beer has the same malt base, but the only difference is the single hop used. When creating this series, Lawson brewed eleven different versions with eleven different hop varieties. Each rendition is released with a number that correlates to the order of the eleven beers brewed.
“When I initially created the series that brewed, I brewed up 11 different varieties up at the original brewery in Warren,” Lawson said. “And so I went through the 11 different varieties and I picked out the favorites that lined up with fan favorites also. So I kind of gauged with each batch how fast did it sell and what got the most response from people. You know, what was the impact, what was the impression that made with them? How much did I hear back? We picked out both our own personal favorites and our fan favorites to highlight those individual hops. It’s been kind of a random hop around from number to number in no particular order.”
Lawson’s Finest just released Super Session #5 with Cashmere hops which are added late in the kettle and in dry hopping. Previous Super Sessions renditions include Super Session #2 Amarillo, Super Session #8 Mosaic, Super Session #7 Idaho 7, Super Session #6 Galaxy and Super Session #4 Centennial. All six Super Session renditions come in at a very approachable 4.8% ABV.
“It really features the highlights between different hop varieties, the different characteristics, the sensory, the aroma, the flavor, the different hop varieties and part,” Lawson said. “And what one of my goals with the Super Session series, along with highlighting those different hops was to create a beer that had the flavor impact of an American IPA, which typically falls more in that six to seven percent but came in under five percent alcohol so that it would be a sessionable beer in other words, you could have more than one without getting a little tipsy.”
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While IPAs have taken over in craft beer, single-hop IPAs have become rare and far between. Most IPAs on the market feature anywhere from one to 77 hop varieties (yes, you read that right, 77) in a beer. Lawson wants to use his single-hop session beers as an education tool, to help craft beer drinkers learn about the profile of some of their favorite hop varieties.
“That was part of the intent was really to feature, the entire profile of one single hop and in the hope would be that not only it’d be a memorable drinking experience, but that it would be in part educational and informative to that particular hot variety for customers and fans,” Lawson said.
So what has been the most popular hop and rendition of the Super Session series? Mosaic, but not by much.
“I think the Mosaic, #8 has been the most popular so far,” Lawson said. “However, I would say #4 really rivaled it last year, which is interesting because Mosaic is one of those sort of hip, newer, proprietary varieties that again, like Citra features a juicy, sort of tropical fruit character. And Centennial is really kind of classic. It’s almost old school for IPA hops, but it’s still a flavor profile with that citrusy, lemon-lime characteristics and a bit more earthy component to it that people really love.”
This Super Session series goes beyond the beer for Lawson’s Finest. The Super Session Initiative is part of their Social Impact Program. It’s a mini-grant that is designed to get people out doing fun “sessions” in their community. While this program is on hold right now due to COVID-19, Lawson Finest is excited to revitalize this program when people are able to safely gather in groups again.
Super Session #5 Cashmere will be available through the end of May in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. To find this beer near you, visit lawsonsfinest.com/where-to-buy.
Feature image courtesy of Lawson’s Finest Liquids