Beer Review: Zen (Session India Pale Ale)



Reviews are done by Jim Matt, our Chief Science Officer, who is also a veteran FoBAB judge, GABF judge, and BJCP Master judge.

Zen (4.8% | 45 IBU) is our delightful Session IPA and a key member of our seasonal brew crew. Available in cans and on draft during the spring, Zen is a hoppy, easy-drinking, citrus-packed beer, sure to let you feel the flow.

Malts: 2-row, Pale Ale, Vienna, Flaked Rye

Hops: Cascade, Mosaic, Citra

What’s the origin story of Zen?

We were looking to enter the foray of Session Pale Ales, and Zen started as an experiment early in 2014.

Zen is a Session India Pale Ale. Talk about that style.

People were getting tired of having 1-2 traditional American IPAs and not being able to function. Founders Brewing Company was one of the pioneers of the style: make a beer with a lot of hop flavor and aroma, but also make it less than 5% ABV.

What are the notable characteristics of this beer?

Light in color and alcohol, with a hop punch from American hops.

What makes you want to drink this beer?

If you like IPAs that you want more than a pint of, this is your beer!

Appearance: Light to moderate haze, yellow in color. Moderate white head with good retention. Medium carbonation.

Aroma: Medium hop aroma with notes of orange peel, grapefruit, peach and light pine. Low malt aroma. Low fruity esters.

Taste: Medium+ hop bitterness, medium hop flavor (notes of grapefruit, mango, orange, light lemon and resin/pine). Low malt flavor, low fruity esters.

Mouthfeel: Medium light body, medium carbonation, light lingering astringency.

Overall: A hop forward sessionable beer that doesn’t hit you over the head with too much flavor, bitterness or alcohol, but is exemplified by its balance.

What foods would pair well with Zen?

Thai green curry with mussels or a lemon tart.

Ideal glassware for Zen? 

Standard pint glass.

Published on by Rhinegeist.