This week, as the weather finally starts to become more spring-like, I wanted some lighter brews that didn’t skimp on flavor, so I found a pair of session brews to share with you all.
Up first, a Georgian brewery and a variant of their most popular beer.
Wild Heaven was founded in the fall of 2010 in Decatur, Georgia (a northeast suburb of Atlanta) by two life-long Georgians. Their brews take European brewing tradition to the next level by adding “a distinctly American creative flair” that not many others have. You can find their stuff throughout Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
They offer ten canned beers year-round along with four barrel-aged fruited sours and a handful of seasonal releases as well.
Today I have one of those seasonal releases, a version of their most popular beer, Emergency Drinking Beer. EDB is session ale that combines a pilsner with a gose.
Today I have the Emergency Drinking Beer: Citrus Blend, in which they take their EDB base and added lime juice, white grapefruit juice, and Ruby Red grapefruit juice to spruce things up a bit. It has a lower ABV, at just 4%, and cost the usual $10 for a six-pack.
This brew poured a clear golden straw color with no more than half a finger of head ever appearing. The bubbles instantaneously fizz down to a razor thin ring around the edge of the glass.
On the nose, this brew hits with sharp, slightly tart citrus notes - lime and grapefruit - and a light sea salt backing. Otherwise it had a really clean aroma, slightly pilsner-esque with a flaked corn base.
My first sip begins with almost no carbonation but, slowly creeping forward is a sweeter, citrus flavor.
The majority of the flavor is that of lime and grapefruit juices which give off some slightly sour notes (mostly the grapefruit) but it’s nowhere near as tart as it smells.
It’s rather sweet, from the malt backing and addition of lime and grapefruit juices. But what’s awesome is that it’s not overly sweet or sticky (as some beers tend to become with the addition of fruit juice).
The addition of sea salt creeps in towards the back end of things, with a dose of saltiness that plays nicely with the lime juice.
This brew is very crisp and clean and incredibly easy to drink throughout. It does ends with a lingering lime tartness and salty characteristic. And, after the whole can had disappeared, there was an acidic feeling in my stomach but, overall, this is a very crushable beer.
This variation of Emergency Drinking Beer was damn good. I wish I had more of them. The only drawback was that acidic rumble that took place afterwards in my stomach.
This blend is perfect for the upcoming months and a great companion to have while hiking, fishing, or just being outside.
Next up, a brewery from the Tar Heel state that’s been around for more than two decades.
Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, Highland Brewing began in 1994 and is the original brewery from Asheville, North Carolina…a city that now houses over 20 breweries! If you’re in the area on May 3rd, be sure to check out the huge anniversary party they’re throwing.
Today they can be found in Florida, Georgia, both Carolinas, and Tennessee. Highland, like Wild Heaven, has ten year-round brews to go along with their handful of seasonal and limited release beers.
I have one of their staple beers, Daycation, a session IPA brewed with Azacca, El Dorado, and Mosaic hops and six types of grains. It costs $10 for a six pack and comes with a 4.9% ABV and 40 IBU. It was also named one of top-5 session IPAs back in 2017.
When poured, Daycation was a slightly cloudy straw color with quite a bit of sediment floating around and just under two fingers of thicker, off-white head topping it all off.
It certainly smelled really nice and certainly seemed to be on the lighter side as far as IPAs go. A slew of fruits led off the aroma, with notes of tropical, citrus, and stone fruits all peeking out at some point. The grains added some malt sweetness and had a light oaty characteristic as well.
The first taste began with a surprise. Daycation started with a low hum of carbonation and a much heavier, creamier mouthfeel than I was expecting it to have.
From there the flavors started to emerge with lemon, grapefruit, and a few stone fruits (apricot and peach mostly) appearing first. The hops gave off some light bitterness up front as well but, for the most part, the fruit outshined the bitter bite.
A bready grain flavor and some light caramel sweetness mixed in midway through to slice into the hops even more but still took a backseat to the hops and fruity notes.
There is one last burst of tropical and citrus fruits that include things like pineapple and mango but they’re only around for a brief moment before fading out.
Daycation initially ended really quick. From the moment the beer hits your tongue to when the flavors fade, it’s probably no more than two seconds. However, there is a resurgence afterwards that is quite interesting
For a moment or two, there is nothing and you think it’s all over…but then a citrus rind bitterness and a shockingly dry feeling pop up a few seconds after everything else had gone. Those two linger on for a minute or so before the beer actually ends.
Overall, it was quite the easy beer to drink. Lots of different fruits make an appearance in the flavor and there’s no real bitter bite to it. It was weird to see such a dry feeling and that grapefruit peel twinge appearing well after everything else had vanished…
But, that said, Daycation was still a very solid session IPA.