Fossil Cove’s newest canned offering is big on hops, not on alcohol

Jamey Lancos (left) and Tyler Horne (right), both Fossil Cove employees, practice social distancing in the taproom while taking walk-up orders.

Photo: Brian Sorensen

The global pandemic has impacted our daily lives in ways never before imagined. We are compelled to distance ourselves from the people we love, and our favorite activities have been placed on the backburner for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, beer drinkers in our area continue to have options. They may be closed for onsite consumption, but all of the local breweries continue to produce beer. Many of them are even making deliveries to their faithful fans, taking advantage of rules recently relaxed by the state of Arkansas.

One such brewery is Fossil Cove Brewing Co. Owner and brewmaster Ben Mills has set up his crew of merrymakers to make deliveries seven days a week. You can hardly miss the purple van driving around the area with “BEER DELIVERY” splashed across the side in hunter’s orange. It’s like an ice cream truck for adults.

And right in the middle of these strange times, Fossil Cove dropped a new beer into its regular lineup of canned offerings. Session IPA made its debut without much fanfare, but is already turning heads in Northwest Arkansas.

True to its name, Session IPA is a lower-ABV version of the style. At 4.9%, it can be enjoyed in larger quantities than its heavier brethren. That’s the idea with session IPAs. You can have several during a drinking “session.”

Photo: Brian Sorensen

The can is a mix of muted blue and green and sports an ambling Tyrannosaurus Rex on the front. On the back reads the brewery’s description of the beer:

Go forth and session with our refreshing, full-flavored IPA. The Session IPA is brewed for whatever adventure lies ahead. From the trails to the rivers and all the backyards in between, the Session IPA bursts with citrus, stone fruit, pine and tropical hop notes complemented by a light maltiness. Fayetteville brewed and independently owned.

Session IPA does not tap into the haze-craze that has dominated IPAs as of late. On the contrary, it seems to harken back to a time when west coast IPAs controlled the landscape of hoppy beers.

First and foremost, it’s a fairly clear beer. When poured into a glass it produces about an inch of white foam that hangs around for several minutes before dissipating.

The aroma is a wonderful mix of citrus and bready malt.

What really stands out is the bitterness. The 50 IBUs (international bitterness units) pop against the relatively low ABV.

The hops are the defining characteristic of Session IPA. Old favorites Amarillo, Centennial, and Mosaic bring citrus notes and a stone fruit character to the fold, while relative newcomer Rakau—a high-alpha acid hop from New Zealand—adds some additional intensity. The combination results in a classic citrus and pine hop profile that stops just short of “dank” on the flavor spectrum.

Photo: Brian Sorensen

Session IPA is by no means thin in composition, but neither is it full-bodied. It drinks bigger than its ABV might suggest. Yet it doesn’t coat the tongue or leave you with the sensation of a full belly.

This style of beer is meant to be enjoyed in quantity, and as the label suggests, it could be the perfect accompaniment to your outdoor adventures.

Or it could be the ideal beverage to sip as you sit on your patio and shelter-in-place.

You can purchase Fossil Cove beer by requesting delivery via phone or on the brewery’s website. Or you can stop by the taproom for pickup. Seating has been removed and all of the necessary precautions have been taken to keep patrons healthy.

So, call or visit and get some Session IPA for yourself. Especially if you like bold, bitter IPAs that can be enjoyed in quantity. If nothing else, it will keep you occupied during these trying times and remind you that better days lie ahead.