Friday, June 4, 2010

The Session #40 Session Beers: It's About Time We Had This Conversation

For this month's Session, Erik Myers of Top Fermented asks us to discuss Session Beers.

What a novel idea. Let's talk about Session beers this month. I consider a Session beer to be any beer around 5% alcohol by volume or less, and has a drinkable character to it so you can have two or three in a social atmosphere and still keep your wits about you, so to speak. I realize that's a little higher alcohol level than most Session beer definitions. That's because I attempt to keep a two beer a day limit when in training for a race, so try to get the most bang for the Session beer buck.

Good Session beer is like great background music during an evening out with friends, unlike going to the symphony or the mosh pit, where the music takes center stage . I'm so glad the Beer Blogging Session got around to this topic, since Session beers, by my definition, constitutes well over 95% of the beer consumed all over the world. OK, that includes a lot of industrial mega-brew the general craft brew community might question as "drinkable". But drinkability is really in the eyes of the beer holder.

So much of the beer blogosphere seems fixated on finding the latest collaboratively brewed, barrel aged quadruple IPA made with black current and licorice, and fermented with Belgian Ale yeast. Most of the world's population would rather drink something more simple, straightforward, and drinkable, which they can enjoy without thinking too hard about it, thank you very much.

I understand this "beer hunter" mentality, to search for the latest and greatest, as brewers strive to create original, bold, and unexpected beer drinking experiences. Craft beer drinking is a lot about discovery. But it's always great to rediscover life's simple pleasures in a well executed Lager, Porter, or Hefeweizen. And it's a pleasure to find a beer that's a great composition of simple flavors that really pop, like Mammoth Brewing's Real McCoy Amber Ale. Or to find something refreshing, yet with all sorts of subtle complexity if one desires to concentrate on the flavors, like El Toro Brewing's Poppy Jasper. Or encounter a beer with a surprising twist, like Devil's Canyon Brewing's Hades Habenero, that gives a much needed dignity to the chile beer style.

It's great to enjoy the intense experience at the top of the mountain, but there's plenty of wonder and enjoyment along the trail to the top.


  1. I am touched, and a bit stunned to hear such praise from the Association of University Lecturers and Researchers - Iraq. I had no idea my writing had such a broad readership, I think.