Any good Mexican restaurant usually serves some form of an amber lager: Dos Equis Amber, Modelo Negra, you name it. Full Sail Brewing’s latest release, Sesión Negra, is the Oregon brewery’s take on the cantina favorite. Full Sail’s version of this malty lager combines toasty sweet malt aroma and flavor with noble hops. While not a palate-stopper, it’s a beer worth taking a moment to appreciate.
Unlike its eye-popping, vibrantly colored packaging, Sesión Negra pours a modest copper color. The beer is crystal clear, like a lager should be, with an off-white foam that quickly dissipates after pouring. After a few seconds, only a small rim of suds remain hugging the rim of the glass.
On the aroma side, things are pretty subdued, but this beer clearly fits the style. As I swirl the beer in my glass, the scents of toasty malt and a faint caramel mingle with the mildly spicy hop character.
Well-balanced, easy-drinking, refreshing: These are the words that come to mind when I think of a good lager.”
As I take the first drink, strong flavors of toasty, bready malt come forward. The malt profile on Sesión Negra is drier than I expected with the caramel I picked up in the aroma being much less noticeable flavor-side. Noble hops Saaz and Tradition (a Hallertau variety) contribute the herbal and spice notes I pick up. The beer finishes dry with a light caramel flavor and the noticeable presence of tannins, almost like black tea, persisting on the back of the tongue.
Well-balanced, easy-drinking, refreshing: These are the words that come to mind when I think of a good lager. Sesión Negra hits all of those points without being over the top. And while I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly outstanding about this beer, it’s a well-made, enjoyable, malt-forward lager. I wouldn’t hesitate picking up a 12-pack to enjoy with my friends over tacos.