Notch Session Ale


I REALLY wanted to like this beer. I’ve been following the Notch “project” for almost a year, wondering what it tasted like, wondering if it could be good. When I saw six packs in my local store I just had to give it a try. 

It pours a very nice copper color with a small head that disappears pretty quickly. There’s not a whole lot I can smell, even if I beat it up a bit. Just not a whole lot on the nose. 

The first taste is… thin. Just not much to it. And not all that pleasant. There’s a metallic flavor in the mid-palate that I just can’t get past. I’m surprised by the lack of body given the beautiful color. Can you sense my disappointment? 

I wanted this to be the gateway beer for all those Bud drinkers out there… the way for them to get into craft beer without even knowing it. At 4.5 ABV it’d be a great alternative to the mass-produced beers most Americans are still drinking. But Sam Adams Boston Lager is only 4.9 ABV and it’s so much better than Notch. Sam Adams Light is 4.07 ABV and side-by-side it’s a better than Notch, IMHO. 

I’m left to wonder if Notch is a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t really exist. Are there plenty of flavorful, relatively low ABV beers that give craft beer drinkers an alternative to high ABV brews, without sacrificing taste? Is there room for Notch in that league? I ask you taste it for yourself and let me know what you think. 

Jim Storer
@jimstorer on Twitter

Taste: C-
Drinkability: C
Vital Stats: Served at 45F from a 12oz bottle in a pint glass. 4.5 ABV. 

4 thoughts on “Notch Session Ale

  1. Strange as it sounds, I’m glad to see some less than glowing reviews on here. I’ve got a real humdinger I’ve been saving, actually. I’ll see about trying it myself and see if I concur. Preferably at a restaurant so I don’t need to commit to a six-pack if it is indeed lackluster.

  2. I’ve been hibernating (and stockpiling some interesting stuff) too. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store.

  3. I was wondering when we’d see more reviews, it seems as the temps have warmed up, people have been too busy spring cleaning to write beer reviews. I had their IPA at one point, it was ok, nothing special, but drinkable for sure. AO

  4. Oh man, there are so many great ‘session’ beers. It was nice to see at this year’s Extreme Beer Fest they were making a strong effort to encourage breweries to brew creative, flavorful, yet low abv beers (rather than the massive brews). I’m not a huge fan, but curious if you’ve tried the Anchor Small Beer. The concept is cool, but the beer is only ok.

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