Sessions in the Abyss, Fair Winds Brewing (Lorton, VA)

I have to admit to being quite spoiled up here in the NOVA area.  I’ve lived within either a 10-15 minute walk or drive to a half-dozen craft breweries and gastropubs over the past few years, and can easily get to twice that many again in 40-45 minutes.  And while it’s taken some time for local watering holes to catch onto the almost embarrassing plethora of fantastic beers we’re inundated with in this market, they’ve finally evolved from asking, “¿Jefe, what is a plethora?”  Even better, friends and co-workers are (ahem) hopping onto this seeming bandwagon of local suds.  This brings me to Fair Winds.  I initially stopped by shortly after they opened in the Spring and was impressed enough that when planning happy hours I was quick to interject with the new brewery that is barely three minutes door-to-door from the office (we’d also swung by Port City and Forge on other occasions).  I wasn’t the only convert, and we’re now swinging by Fair Winds every few weeks.  The end of the Summer saw a few debuts into their flagship lineup, so about six weeks ago I stopped in the night before heading down to the VA Craft Brewers Festival.  I subsequently upgraded this present brew from a taster to a full pint, and just the other week into a full sixtel.

FW FNFThe one we want is second from the right…

Sessions in the Abyss, Fair Winds Brewing Co. (Lorton, VA)
Session IPA, ABV 4.5%, IBU 35

Presentation: Keg pour into pint glass.

FW Abyss
Appearance:  Pale with some goldenrod highlights.  While the kegerator is coming out foamy right now, typically it’s a moderate, swiftly shrinking head with minimal lattice.

Taste:  Mild citrus nose somewhere between orange and grapefruit.  A subtle floral body on the sides of the tongue gives way again to citrus as it lingers on the center of your tongue.  There’s a fair amount of hoppy bite in the finish thanks to some Amarillo Hops, but it doesn’t linger the same as Centennial varieties would.  Of course, much of this strong if delicate profile is the great balance between those Amarillo and Citra Hops, leaving you with lots of flavor as well as more versatility over other IPAs.

Mouth Feel:  The bite, while sharp, is short-lasting.  You’d almost think it’d come in higher than 35 IBUs, but the Session characteristics make this fairly light (and the ABV is great if you’d like a second one before driving home).  Mild carbonation as I poured it, and it sits well on the tongue if you let it.

Overall:  One of two sensational flagships from Fair Wind’s early run, I didn’t hesitate very long when presented the Abyss as a sixtel choice on my latest keg run.  Taking nothing away from their GABF-winning Siren’s Lure (or my as-yet-unreviewed champion), the Abyss is that kind of beer is so well executed you don’t think twice before asking for it on every visit.  It has elements that all IPA fans enjoy, and is approachable for even casual drinkers thanks to the interplay between two well-paired varieties of Hops.  You honestly could not ask for more from early batches of a flagship beer.  Given runaway success of our first six months with Fair Winds, though, we’ll be watching their career with great interest!

Score:  8.4

(and no, I refuse to link to Episode 1 there…but bravo if you spotted the reference)

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