Most of the United States experienced daily temperatures over 90F this week. The media was flooded with “heat” stories and local and federal government offices issued “warnings” and “advisories”. Guess what? It’s Summer. It gets hot in the summer and then cools down after a while and we call that Winter. This happens year after year after year…
This site has made its views known before… the “First Session Beer Rant”… Now the good news… “Session Beers” are finding their way onto store shelves and on-premise cold boxes. These are beers that fall between 3.2% and 4.5% alcohol by volume.
My friends at Beeradvocate define a “session beer”: “session beer n. Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability.”
Lou Bryson, a good writer who is also a beer maven, is quoted on Wikipedia as defining a “session” beer thus… “In the United States, a recent session beer definition has been proposed by beer writer Lew Bryson. His Session Beer Project blog includes a definition of 4.5% ABV or less for session beer. Followers of this definition include Notch Brewing, a session only beer brand. The Brewer Association has adopted a new category within their Great American Beer Fest competition which states a “session beer” is from 4.0%-5.1% ABV .”
That noted I fully expect to hear from the various “Beer Police” (and you know who you are) that this definition is too narrow… I mean too broad… I mean not specific enough.
Let me be as clear as I can be… A “Session Beer” is a beer that you can consume in quantities considered “Binge Drinking” (more than three pints of beer per day for a mature male) by the medical gods here in the United States… but considered moderate drinking by the medical gods in Europe and of the country to the north of the United States. For those of you who would like to correct me with a list of the national medical services around the world that consider more than three pints of beer a day “binge drinking” be aware that I am a big fan of the “recycle bin”.
That said, I am pleased to announce that more and more breweries are turning out the “Session Beers” that I mentioned above. Dogfish Head has a wheat beer, New Holland, Goose Island and others have begun producing and marketing beers that are full of flavor and less than 4.5% alcohol by volume.
Now it is Summer… It is time to celebrate these lower alcohol brews. How is this done? The American way! Go shopping! Make an effort to seek out the lower alcohol beers and let me know when and where you found them.
Next week, when things cool down here in the North East, I’ll post the results of this “Session Beer” survey… Don’t be shy!