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A vote for commercial Session beers

Seems like this may be the next fad, (after Imperial everything), but having just been at a local beer store looking for Saisons, I want to say that I wouldn’t be opposed to a few beers below 5% ABV. A saison was originally supposed to be a drinkable, hot sun, late summer kind of brew. So why is it that I can only find 8% “saisons” at my beer store?
The notion that you can have a very tasty brew below 5% is really interesting to me - even if I haven’t had one.
It would definitely be worth a few trial bottles.

I became a big fan of Cain’s dark mild (and in a can!). A local brewery came out with a summer rye IPA with an ABV less than 5%, which had a wonderful American IPA flavor and I could have a few of them without worry.

I totally agree. I’m seeing a few more Ontario beers going below 5%. One of our classics is Wellington’s Arkell Best Bitter at 4 and their special Pale at 4.5%.

Most of the imports I buy are below 5 - I just had a Pilsener Urquel at 4.4%.

But I do find most of our local brewers are going stronger for their specialty beers for sure.

I really tend to go for beers that I can drink 10 of. That’s what I am making most of the time these days just for that reason.

Yep, session beers have been building in popularity over the last year, but it’s still not easy to find sessionable domestic craft beers. About half of my homebrew batches are <5%. I love the idea of being able to drink several in a night without regretting it later.

The cover story in the most recent issue of “All About Beer” magazine featured session beers.

A lot of English beers are really low in ABV. The English tax on alcohol and volume so they are encouraged to brew low abv beers. I’m sure you can find some imports around.

Check. Had a Schwarz at 4.8. Mighty fine. Not a north american craft brewer though.

Sam Adams’ Noble Pils comes in just under the wire at 4.9% ABV-very tasty. Started off as their Spring Seasonal, but sold well enough to be “promoted” to a year-round offering.

21st Amendment’s Bitter American at 4.4% is a great beer without mentioning it’s a “session beer.” The fact that it’s a session beer is an added bonus.

Like that one too but we’re a bit lucky to get it in MN, pretty sure the only reason is due to 21A contract brewing it in Cold Springs, MN. A local favorite session beer is Surly’s Bitter Brewer but I stopped at Pour Decision’s opening to pick up a growler of Pubstitute it is also great. (also picked up some bottles of the Berliner Weiße) Pubstitute is a very easy drinking ~2.8%, I had the whole growler while getting a bunch of house work done. Nice that Kristen has priced it quite reasonably so hopefully more people will give it a try, hoping he’ll add a bitter to his line up before too long. :cheers:

As brewers, I think these are a great challenge. I started doing a few of these, partly for all of the reasons stated above, but also to test my brewing skills and procedures. If you’re going to make a low alcohol beer, your technique better be good. A 7% ABV, 55 IBU beer will cover up a lot of minor flaws in your brewing practices, that will stick out like sore thumbs in a smaller beer. I started brewing a few lighter ones to make sure that my brewing was flawless.

It’s also a challenge to make a beer at 4 - 4.5 % ABV and male it taste like something.

I’ve been getting more into session beers lately also, I have a feeling they’re going to grow in popularity as a bit of a backlash to the “extreme” brewing that has dominated craft beer lately. I’m not opposed to “extreme” beers, but I also think variety is a good thing.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of the Full Sail Session lagers. Session is actually the brand, they downplay the Full Sail name for some reason. The basic session is a higher quality take on the light american lager. What’s really remarkable though is the Session Black, which is a full flavored but very easy to drink Schwarzbier.

This is my favorite commercial session brew I also love Surly Bitter brewer

The thing about session beers is that most of them have been around since well before the term “Session Beer” became so widespread. Guinness being a prime example.

Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter has been my session winter beer for ages, but I never knew it was only 4.4% until I started working on my clone recipe recently.

Oh, and Stone Levitation pretty much defines the style for hoppy session beers, IMO.

Just saw this news from Deschutes: … xt-spring/

It’s nice to see a major, highly respected player in the craft segment adding a year round session beer. Can’t wait to try it.

The biggest problem with session beers is that the best examples come from Europe. Almost all of these styles are best consumed fresh, but it’s hard to get fresh european beers, especially from the smaller, “craftier” breweries. Fuller’s London Pride comes to mind as a great commercial session beer.

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