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Session Beers - Desperately Seeking Moderation
A Session Beer is a Beer that is relatively low in alcohol (5% or lower), balanced in character, and ideally suited for enjoying one after another.
I’m getting just a little annoyed by extreme beers. Do you know what I mean? I’m talking about those striving to be the “hoppiest” or the “strongest” or the most peculiar. When I see brewers boasting that their new Ale has more IBUs than ever recorded in history I simply can’t walk away fast enough.
I often hear newbie Craft Beer drinkers come into a tavern that offers a generous selection of handles and ask the bartender “What’s your strongest Beer?” I’m sorry; I just don’t get it. To me that’s akin to walking into the same tavern and state that “I’m new to the area and I would love to chat about the game, who’s the loudest guy here?”
In our super-sized, bigger is better world we have trampled all over the great virtues of restrained, reasoned, and modest. For me there is nothing more respectable than a well made Session Beer.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the “big” Beers. I frequently dive into Trappist Ales, IPA, Barley Wines, or Bocks (just to name a few). But let’s face it, some times you simply crave a thirst quenching drink and you don’t want to have to compromise flavor to get it.
I view a good session Beer in the same way that I do a wonderful, lightly sparkling Prosecco, or perhaps a well chilled Rosé. It’s all about clean, crisp, and pure flavors that nearly oblige you to take the next sip. That is the essence of a session Beer.
A few Session Beers I am Fond Of:
Goose Island, 312 Urban Wheat 4.2%
Goose Island is a great Chicago brewery distributing their beers to more than a dozen states. Their 312 is fresh and lively with just enough hops to add interest.
Stiegl Pils 4.9%
Brewed in Salzburg, Austria. This Pils is crisp while offering subtle malty notes and a brilliant noble hop impression.
Victory Whirlwind Wit 5%
A great and unique interpretation of the classic Belgian Wit style offering lovely spice notes and soft fruity tones.
Unibroue Blanche de Chambly 5%
Does Unibroue make a bad beer? Wait, I’ll answer, NO! This is a summer favorite. Vivacious, spicy, and wildly complex while madly quaffable.
Guinness Stout 4%
Stout as a session beer? Yes! A classic Dry Stout is most often low in alcohol, crisp and refreshing, and full of flavor. Don't fear the dark. (See our Stout segment)