Collective Arts Brewing’s State of Mind: What Is a Session IPA?

Have you heard the term “session IPA,” or “session beer” thrown around your local craft beer watering hole? Are you unsure of what it means, but too scared to ask, lest you be revealed as a beer novice? Don’t worry, I’m here to answer that question for you, and I’ll even recommend a delicious one with which to wet your whistle after you read.

If I’ve learned anything from my day job, it’s that, before the last 40 years or so, people were extremely dumb. From letting kids to play with plastic bags on their heads to smoking on airplanes to using led paint on baby toys, we used to do some stupid shit. The origin of the session beer is no different, it just takes place even earlier, when people were that much more idiotic.

This story takes us back to the turn of the 20th century, when the world went to war for the first time. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (no, not the lead singer of the band), was assassinated by members of Young Bosnia (tied in with Narodna Odbrana and the Black Hand). Tensions rose around Europe… yada yada,.. WWI broke out.

For all countries involved in the conflict, it was all hands on deck. Everyone who could fight went to fight. Everyone who couldn’t fight went to work. Munitions plants sprung up all over, sending the leftover men and many women (known as the “Munitionettes” in England) all over the world to the assembly lines. They made weapons, ammunition, bombs, slingshots, boards with nails in them… basically, whatever could be used to kill the enemy.

All that ’round-the-clock-work can make a woman (and those non-fighting dudes) tired, so mandatory “sessions” of a few hours were written into law between shifts. Just about everyone–at least the cool crowd–spent those few hours at the local pub getting sloshed. Who needs sleep? Once they were done drinking away the yawns, workers reported back to the assembly lines… to make explosive devices. Terrifying… but awesome.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t go drinking normal beer for four hours and then touch my finger to my nose, let alone not blow myself up while manufacturing weapons of war. Guess what… neither could those workers. This created a problem. Was the solution to stop workers from drinking? Haaaa, no! The only logical solution was to brew weaker beers. With the alcohol content in their suds cut in half, workers could pound twice as many beers in during their “sessions” and head back to work at the same level of drunkenness! Or… something like that. Anyway, the session beer was born!

Today, session beers are just brews that have lesser alcohol content, so that you can drink them for a few hours without falling down and embarrassing your wife and family at your kid’s birthday parties. Thankfully, flavor doesn’t have to be sacrificed to lower alcohol content, which brings us to today’s session beer, Collective Arts Brewing’s State of Mind Session IPA.

If you’ve seen the Beers on Window Sills Instagram account, you know I’m a pretty big fan of Ontario’s Collective Arts Brewing. Their mission statement says it all:

We are a grassroots beer company fusing the craft of brewing with the inspired talents of emerging artists & musicians. Our brewery is dedicated to promoting artists and raising creative consciousness through the sociability of craft beer.

Although CA supports all the arts, my favorite thing about them is that every can they release is basically a masterpiece, drawn or painted by amazing artists from all over the world. In order to ensure they’re showcasing as many artists as possible, they release different can art for each beer they put out, meaning your State of Mind might look different than mine. It’s really an awesome concept. Take a look at some of their galleries… beautiful!

Of course, it would all be for naught if the beer was shitty, wouldn’t it? I might buy a can or two for the window sill as a novelty, but the point of this project is for me to discover new, amazing beer and share it with my friends. Luckily, CA also prides themselves in their quality brews.

The SoM is no exception. It pours a golden yellow (Instagram filters notwithstanding), and the aroma is floral and tropically delicious. Despite the lower alcohol content, no flavor is lost at all. It’s delightfully crisp and light, but packs that hoppy punch true IPA lovers, like yours truly, crave. The taste is dominated by tropical fruit and orange, but some grapefruit and pine is definitely detectable too. And ooh all that hoppiness in the finish. Balanced and delectable. Also, because it’s a session IPA, it’s only 4.4% alcohol!

If you like cool breweries, and good beer, this is definitely one to try… especially if you’re in a big hurry to get back to the assembly line. Those bombs aren’t gonna make themselves, pal.

Seriously… how are we still alive as a species?

Check this beer out on Instagram!