I have been following The Session since it started in March 2007 thanks to Stan at Appellation Beer and Jay at Brookston Beer Bulletin. The Session consists of a monthly topic chosen by a different beer blogger each month and written about by all who would like to participate. This months topic comes from Ray at The Barley Blog and is “Happy Anniversary”, the thought is to talk about a limited release beer or a beer you would drink only on a special occasion. I have previously wanted to participate in the session but have always let the date pass with out noticing, but this months topic was perfect for me so I was sure to remember. For this session I have not chosen a limited edition beer, but a beer that has eluded my purchase for some time now because of its price. I have been tempted on an untold number of occasions to purchase Rogue’s Imperial IPA but have always been discouraged by its price tag, so even though there are more extravagant and more limited beers to choose I decided this was the perfect beer to choose for this occasion. So onto the beer. This beer comes in a black ceramic resealable flip top 750ml bottle and is quite attractive. Rogue Brewery from Newport, Oregon makes some fine ales, hopefully this one is no exception. Part of the XS, or Xsperience series of big beers by rogue this is sure to excite. The initial pour from this bottle is difficult to do smoothly but the head created was still not too massive. Head went up a good inch and change and was fluffy but solid with lots of little bubbles of carbonation that faded rather rapidly. The aroma of this beer is very nice, you can immediately tell it is a quality IPA. Bitter hop aromas are present but dulled by a lovely sweet malt scent with orange, apricot and other citrus hints. Color is a delightful hazy orange hue that is barely penetrated by light. This beer has an interesting flavor, some hop flavor at first but smoothed out by a heavy slightly caramelized malt flavor dominated by further bitter hop flavors in the end with a bit of the 9.5% ABV notable but not overpowering, though you will start feeling it after a glass or so. Much citrus is present in this beer, I notice predominately orange, but the bitter after taste quells many flavors in this beer. Considering the medium body of this beer it is surprisingly refreshing and drinkable. I am glad I finally spent the money on this beer because it is very well balanced and manages some very interesting flavors, but it is a bit more bitter in the after taste than I tend to prefer, even in an Imperial IPA. I am excited to someday try more of Rogue’s XS series as I have faith they will all be quite flavorful and impressive and would be curious to see how they age. If you are a fan of hoppy beers with a bit more bitter of a back palates and don’t mind breaking the bank this beer is for you, or sample it if you can while in Oregon. Give it a shot and ride your bike.