Fun in the Sun
Here they come at long last, sunny and maybe warm days in the Pacific Northwest. Spring and summer, breaks and vacations and shaking off the last of winter’s chill. We now get longer days with more chances to meet friends in the local pub or hang out on a deck after hours of wearying toil. This may leave one inclined to hoist another pint. Maybe one more. And a final one to welcome dusk.
It’s Got Its Own Project and Day
Session beers are a growing movement in the United States where the idea is to craft a flavorful drink that is of a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage such that a few pints can be enjoyed over an extended “session” of time.
It can be argued that the American take on session beers has been an evolution from the low ABV beers of England (quite possibly the sort known as a Mild) where it is very common to have beers below 5% ABV.1 In the United States, Lew Bryson is the creator of the Session Beer Project and is advocating for beers under 4.5% ABV. With his promotion, April 7 is becoming known as Session Beer Day2.
There is a great variety of beers that can be considered a “session” beer. The word itself can encapsulate and can be applied to styles as wide as pale ales, extra hoppy offerings, an increasing number of India Session Pale Ales (ISA), and dry Irish stouts right along the lines of Guinness Draught Stout.3 There is a good chance that whatever qualities you enjoy from the larger, more potent beers, you will be able to happily find in several beers of lower alcohol.
A craft beer bar or bottle shop near you is likely to have a few delicious local breweries sessionable beers right on tap or bottled. Depending on the reach of their distributors you may even have access to a variety of session beers from all over the nation, and maybe the world. If possible, visit and support your local breweries directly and make them aware of your interest in session beer. Enjoy Responsibly!
1 Jeff Alworth, The Beer Bible (New York: Workman Publishing Co., Inc. 2015) 124.
2 Lew Bryson, March 17, 2016 (12:29pm), “SUPPORT SESSION BEER DAY IN 2016!,” The Session Beer ProjectTM, http://sessionbeerproject.blogspot.com
3 Joshua M. Bernstein, The Complete Beer Course (New York: Sterling Epicure, 2013) 26.