Living in the city and being a man who enjoys his beer, I do my best to use cabs, public transportation, or my own two feet to get me around. That doesn’t always work, though, and there are plenty of times that we end up driving across town to visit a favorite pub or attend a party or an event. On these occasions, I make sure that I pay more attention to how much I drink and what I’m drinking. That’s where session beer can be your best friend. The term “session beer” can mean many things to many people, but for my purposes the only qualification is that the beer is at 5% ABV or less; something that you can have a few of and not have to worry about driving your car into a ditch on the way home. Session beers obviously aren’t just good for when you are driving; any good session beer is a welcome sight anytime you visit a pub and don’t feel like walking out with much of a buzz, and it is ideal for long drinking sessions (um, yeah, hence the name).
Session beer has been getting more attention over the past year in a variety of magazines, blogs and newspapers, and Lew Bryson is heading up the Session Beer Project, which is a movement to popularize and support the brewing and enjoyment of session beers. Due to proximity (he’s located in Philly), much of his content is focussed on the East Coast, but it is still an interesting read. Out here in Seattle, Chris Devlin of the Beer Retard voiced his support for Lew’s cause, and at one point I think he even tried to limit his beer consumption to consist of nothing but beers under 5% ABV. How’d that go, Chris?
Here at Seattle Beer News, I’m going to try my best to work in more posts about session beers and I’ve also added a “NW Session Beers” page (link on the top of the website menu bar) to try and keep a running list of what beers are available out here in Seattle/NW. Bear with me while I get the list up to speed, but also feel free to leave a comment or email me with beers you think should be on the list.
For the next Northwest Brewing News tasting panel, we will also be focussing on Session Beers. So, if you have a favorite session beer available in bottles in either Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Northern California or British Columbia, please let me know and I’ll try to include it in our tasting. For any breweries that might be reading, please email me to submit samples.