In honor of Black Friday I thought I would write a review of a black lager. Now, you might think that today is Sunday and I am posting this a couple days too late, but according to the barrage of e-mails that have flooded my inbox all month it looks like Black Friday now lasts for a week or so. I could use this post as a medium to express my distaste in overblown consumerism or make fun of the people who camp out for a week to save twenty bucks on a crappy TV, but this is a beer blog, so I’ll just stick to writing about beer. Full Sail Brewing Company of Hood River, Oregon produces a series of Session lagers that you can quickly identify from their squat bottles (they look like Red Stripe bottles actually). One of their flagship beers is Session Black Lager, a dark beer that is designed to not drink like a meal. There is a common misconception that dark beers have higher alcohol, but many stouts, porters and dark lagers have lower ABV than some of their lighter colored counterparts. While the word “session” is on this label in large letters, at 5.4% ABV it isn’t a session beer by most definitions, but it also isn’t a boozy imperial stout or dopplebock. Full Sail Session Black is available year-round on draft and in bottles.
Full Sail Session Black Lager pours a deep cola brown with a mild off-white head. The scent is pretty mild, just a hint of toasty malt. The dark malts lead off the flavor, with hints of chocolate, coffee and raisin, but nothing overpowering. There is just a hint of hops in the finish, earthy with a touch of bitterness. The beer is very drinkable with a crisp and clean lager finish and just a bit of malty sweetness on the aftertaste. While this isn’t a session beer per se, it is still light bodied and easy to drink. Overall, Full Sail Session Black Lager is a solid take on a drinkable dark lager style, a good choice for a crisp afternoon or for someone without much experience drinking darker styles. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.