So these days the words “Session Beers” are entering the mindset of beer geeks and casual beer drinkers more frequently. This isn’t a new thing at all, Session Beers are a very common type of beer, but small breweries are deciding to take a break from their usual projects to create the perfect one and the public eye is wondering just what the hell a Session Beer is.
A Session Beer is, essentially, a beer that is low in alcohol (Usually about 4.5-5% ABV or under) and thus a beer that you can drink frequently during a drinking “session”, which is a period of time where you are having several drinks. So my version of the perfect session would be sitting on the top of my friend’s apartment building in Bushwick and splitting a six-pack of a beer that barely leaves me buzzed by the end. But really, a session can be spent alone or with friends, at a bar or in the comfort of your own home. Wherever good times are had. There are other aspects to what makes an arguably good session beer, such as balance of flavour and reasonable price and so on, but they are by no means strict rules that one must follow (although I will agree that they are somewhat in line with the spirit of the social aspect).
If you’ve had beers like Guinness, Pilsner Urquell, Newcastle Brown, or even Blue Moon, you’ve had a session beer before. They’re nothing new (Like I said, it’s just an alcohol level). So why am I telling you this?
Because in a craft beer climate where breweries seem to be looking for the next Big Beer (Here, have this Imperial Belgian Stout aged in Bourbon & Absinthe barrels that is roughly 12% ABV!), it pays to know that it is possible to have something simple and finely crafted. Don’t get me wrong, I adore geeking out over over a sample of rum-barrel aged barleywines or basking in the beautiful aromas of an Imperial IPA, but at the end of a particularly tiring day of work, I tend to go for a beer that doesn’t get me buzzed after half a glass and is something I have the option of not thinking about if I don’t want to. The latter is particularly important to me if I really just want to relax. Also, it may be just me, but I think that Sessionable beers have a better chance of “converting” folks on to the smaller breweries than the sensory explosions do. Not that the big ABV lads don’t pull their weight, it’s just I’ve often found the smaller alcohol beers that are made very well end up being great Gateway Beers. It’s for that reason that I think small breweries are starting to put some nice session beers in to their brewing schedules lately.
One such beer that is making the rounds up here in Ontario is Detour Session IPA by Muskoka Brewery and it pretty much matches my criteria for a great session beer. At 4.3% ABV and hopped with Eldorado, Sorachi, and Citra hops, this is a beer with gorgeous, subtle, citrus aromas, a subtle note of mandarin oranges in the taste and a quick dry finish. It’s a very well balanced beer, hoppy enough for you to take notice, but not too hoppy so you’ll end up thinking about it too much. Were we not having lousy Smarch weather right now, I’d be out on the porch slowly sipping this beer. Instead I’ll settle for sipping this at the end of the day in my office and know that I have something to look forward to in the brutal heat of summer.
In Amerika, the big one that has exploded right now is Stone Brewery’s Go To IPA, which at first was a bit weird to think that Stone would do a 4.5% beer, but then I remembered that they have their Levitation Ale which is 0.1% lower (HUGE difference, I know…).
For more information on some amazing international Session Beers out there, I can’t recommend The Session Beer Project enough. This site has been going on with sporadic updates since 2009 and has been an absolute joy to go through. Be sure to subscribe to it or just flip through the archives.
So when you hear someone say that their beer is really “sessionable”, what they mean is that you can drink a few of them without having to worry about waking up in a city you’ve never been in married to someone you’ve never met. Sometimes that’s a really good thing and after a long day where all you want to do is chill out a bit, it’s the perfect thing.
18 Comments Add yours
Yeah, I like session beers for the same reasons, but feel like I’m in the minority when I vocalize my preference in the presence of fellow craft beer enthusiasts. Cheers!
I kind of dig Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown for this purpose.
Not sure if at 5% it fully counts as a session, but it’s my tasty drink-and-don’t-get-sleepy go to.
Great post. I agree with what realartisbetter is saying. There is a sort of suspicion of lower-ABV products in the craft scene. I’m glad that breweries are developing the confidence to not just play a numbers game and justify a product on its inherent quality and striking a proper balance.
You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the
article you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you
who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.
What i do not understood is in truth how you are now not really a lot more smartly-favored than you might be now.
You’re so intelligent. You understand therefore considerably when it comes to this matter,
produced me in my opinion believe it from numerous
numerous angles. Its like men and women are not involved except it
is one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs great.
All the time take care of it up!
Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic
but it has pretty much the same layout and design.
Excellent choice of colors!
Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this
board and I to find It truly helpful & it helped me out a lot.
I am hoping to present one thing again and aid others like you aided me.
Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff
previous to and you’re just too wonderful.
I actually like what you have acquired here, really like
what you are stating and the way in which you say it.
You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise.
I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is
actually a great website.
Congratulations on you Saveur Food Blog Award – I would to personally invite you to share your gorgeous food photos with us over at Food Foto Gallery . com – In March alone, we had 26,382 visitors to the site & there’s no complicated approval process like the big guys. Any photos related to food (that are not watermarked) are accepted & get posted automatically. We also share our daily faves on social media, giving exposure to food bloggers when we can. Let me know if you have any questions and hope to see you at the site 🙂
Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew
of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was
hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.