Mill Creek Brewing Company// Woodshed India Pale Ale

With warm weather fast approaching, my unquenchable desire for easy drinking beers grows even stronger. I’m not one to shy away from a provided macro lager at a party, but sometimes I want something with flavor and more in my wheelhouse. If you’re not familiar with the term session beer, it relates to a brew that’s easy drinking and well, one you could drink multiples of in a drinking session. You’ll see several styles flaunt the session tag, but the ones I’m usually interested in are the session india pale ales. While everyone is stuck on this New England IPA craze at the moment, and don’t get me wrong because they are damn delicious, I think the real ability and the real talent comes with brewing a low alcohol beer with maximum flavor and basically something I can drink and drink and drink and drink. A brewery that has just begun distribution in Alabama, Mill Creek Brewing Company from Nolensville, TN., has the perfect execution of said beer. Sometimes you’ll get those session IPAs and they’re still pretty heavy and just tongue scorchers that wreck your tongue after a couple, but Mill Creek’s IPA is the perfect balance between malt, hops, and drinkability. Here are my thoughts:

 

As always, I’d like to bring attention to the can the beer is in. If you’re a long time reader, first of all thank you, you know that I’m a design junkie and a fan of overall clean design work. Mill Creek’s cans are some of the cleanest I’ve seen lately and I just can’t get enough of that white can with a little pop of color, because it’s truly exquisite.

 

I drank this beer from the can, because hell, I wanted to, but the color is a burnt orange, almost like that bright orange rust you see on things at the flea market. From other pictures I’ve seen, when poured into a glass, the beer has about a finger to a finger and a half width of white head that doesn’t really leave much lacing due to the stunningly low alcohol level.

 

The first thing you get from this beer is an incredible citrus and piney aroma that draws you in. Something that a lot of session IPAs miss is that essential aroma and it basically goes down hill from there. Luckily, this one is right on the money and I know this is an IPA from the jump.

 

When you first taste the beer, you really get a sense of how light the beer actually is. Like other, heavier IPAs, you get a sense of how thick the beer is and you can taste some of the alcohol up front. On the flip side, this beer starts out thin and then allows the flavors to build and build into something that’s a full-bodied IPA that at the same time is light on the tongue and your stomach. Up front is a ton of citrus flavors with a little bit of that nice, danky pine flavor that is quintessential of those classic Northwest India Pale Ales. The flavor then mellows into a bit more of that citrus flavor that was all over the place in the nose. The beer finishes with a nice hoppy bitterness that reminds you that you are in fact drinking an IPA and as you finish each sip, that same danky, citrus flavor sticks to your tongue and draws you back in.

 

The mouthfeel is a highlight of this beer for me, because this is really where a session beer passes or fails, and luckily, this one passes with flying colors. Soft and delicate on the tongue, this beer is light and refreshing without losing any of the essential components. The carbonation is light to medium and lends itself to drinking, and with the ABV at 4.5, according to Bo Hicks, the slamability index is very, very high.

 

All in all, this is a solid beer that I have no problem standing behind and promoting. The only negative I have for this beer is that at the beginning of each sip there is that thinness that is a little too thin for me and seems a little watery. I say that, only to say it recovers brilliantly and makes that watery note last for maybe half of a second, so it’s probably just me trying to find a negative to say on it. Even though this beer doesn’t distinctly utilize the session IPA nametag, to me, this beer is right at the top of that category. Like I said earlier, I have no problems promoting or standing behind this beer. The flavors they’re able to pack into such a small build is nothing short of incredible. I will definitely be purchasing another six-pack and then another and then another. Cheers!

 

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