No-Li Brewhouse's Empire No. 8 Session IPA
Host city: Spokane, Wash.
The NCAA just scheduled a round of play in a Pacific Northwest craft beer mecca and now fans have a decision to make.
You're going to want to try a West Coast-style IPA, but you're not going to want to be out of the game by halftime. That makes No-Li's Jet Star Imperial IPA tempting at an off-the-scale 115 international bitterness units, but a bit heavy at 8.1% ABV. Its standard Born and Raised IPA still has plenty of hop bitterness at 85 IBUs, but that 7% ABV is still a bit more potent than you'd like if you're having more than one.
Empire No. 8 -- named for the rail line that once brought the rest of the U.S. out to the Pacific Northwest -- is a bit more like it. While bending the definition of "session beer" a bit at 5.5% ABV (rule of thumb is 4.5% or less), it's still about as mild as you'll get out of an IPA without losing hop flavor. Packed with Cluster and Cascade hops, Empire No. 8 still reaches an IPA-worthy 67 IBUs and retains the citrusy hop bitterness that beer fans have come to expect from the region.
Enjoy your stay in Washington State, college basketball fans. This beer will get you from the first day's tipoff to the last day's final buzzer.