After a couple years on this thing -- on and off, actually -- I'm doing what I should have done then, and giving The Session Beer Project a home. I'm sensing a shift in the beer currents -- that's what my February "Steaming Pile" column in Ale Street News is about, I'll link as soon as it's up -- and I think that this is going to be a big year for the comeback of session beer in America.
What's going to happen? Don't know yet. But I'm going to do what I can to get the word out on session beers -- see the definition at the top right of the page -- and see what we can do to get brewers to make them, bars to carry them, and you, my friends, I'm going ask you to drink them.
Brewers and importers: if you've got year-round beers that are under 4.5% ABV, that are flavorful -- sorry, no mainstream light lagers need apply, that's just how it is -- and available, let me know. If you can, send samples (along with notes on distribution): I'll be happy to post tasting notes here. If we're right -- and by 'we' I mean myself, some influential bar owners I know, and some industry people -- there is a market waiting for tasty, lower-alcohol beers, and the good one that makes it to market first is going to have a substantial edge. Start thinking.
Bar and restaurant owners/managers (and that means you brewpub folks, too): if you get the right session beer on -- meaning one that tastes good -- you can substantially increase your sales. Think about it: would you rather sell thirty glasses of El Mondo Grosso Imperial Stout at $6 a glass, or seventy-five glasses of Lulu's Luscious Ale at $4 a glass? Session beer is good at the register, and it's safer for your customers (and your liability). It also makes your bar a more attractive spot for folks who want to hang out for more than an hour, and not get all drunked up (and isn't that the kind of customer you want?).
Drinkers! It's a common taunt: "People who drink light beer don't really like beer; they just like to pee a lot." Well...if you're going out to drink beer, why get hammered on two or three huge beers? If you really like to drink beer, why not find a good, flavorful session beer and have five? I mean...if you like drinking beer, and the conviviality and social fun that goes with it, why not have a beer that lets you keep doing that longer?
Session Beer in '09. Working to make it happen.