Recently I came across a bottle of "old" White Birch Hop Session in my stash - dated May 2012. Considering that this beer is meant to be consumed when fresh, a bottle that been sitting around for a year and a half probably isn't at it's optimal tasty goodness.
Of course I drank it despite that it was was way past its prime. I loathe to waste beer! That's alcohol abuse.
While the beer didn't taste awful by any stretch of the imagination, in fact it was actually quite good, it most likely didn't taste like the brewer had intended. Read the review here.
Since then I've been on a mission to find a fresh bottle. I visited a couple local-to-me beer stores and the freshest they had was still several months old. I bought a bottle anyway and drank it for comparison.
This bottle - dated March 2013 - was similar to the older one with the exception of a more prominent hop profile that made a good attempt to dominate the malty sweetness.
Not bad at all, but still not the in the time frame for its peak drinking condition.
So, I made a special trip all the way to New Hampshire; for Thanksgiving not for beer.
I went into one of my favorite pubs in the area - Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub. Their board proclaimed that they had Hop Session ON TAP! Holy guacamole! That's got to be as fresh as I can get without going to the brewery, right? So, I ordered a glass. Alas, it was not to be. The keg had kicked. So sad. I cried into my back up beer choice - Brown Bag Milk Stout.
Not defeated I made a special trip to one of my places for craft beer in the North Conway area - Vista Country Store - and found a bottle that was only a couple months old. Closer to the ideal but not as fresh gets.
This bottle - dated September 2013 - was pretty spankin' good. Hoppier, bolder with a nice solid malt backbone for excellent balance. Delish!
Hop Session is a good hoppy beer with a nice sessionable alcohol content. Good stuff. Get some! But get it fresh!