Friday, February 6, 2009

Homebrewing Session Beers

I took your suggestion, and suggested a Session Beer homebrewing competition to the American Homebrewers Association. Here's their response, from Project Coordinator Janis Gross (who we like; check out what she's brewing!):

Thanks for sending us your link and your thoughts about something I'm really big on too! I'll definitely check out your blog, and I may even be able to post the link with one of the Big Brew recipes this year, English Mild. (It appears that this year's Big Brew recipes aren't up yet; I'll link to them here when they are. Meantime, here's last year's Chiswick Bitter recipe (in all-grain, or extract-plus), an ordinary bitter brewed in honor of the extraordinary life of Michael Jackson.) I have been championing session beers for some time now, and the mild recipe will be the one I brew for Big Brew.

As for your reader's comments about having a competition for session beers, we had a Low Gravity/Session Beers Club-Only Competition 2 years ago (February 2007) that was hosted by the Maltose Falcon Brewing Society club who are renowned for their giant beers. (Results are here; and the Maltose Falcons may be renowned for giant beers, but as I found out, they do a pretty damned good mild, too!)

The Club-Only Competitions (COCs) are the only competitions the AHA puts on apart from the National Homebrew Competition. The COC schedule is currently booked through May 2012 and there is one session style competition scheduled for January/February, 2010, a year from now. That competition is being hosted by the Impaling Alers in Kent, WA.

The styles for the COC are for the most part chosen by the hosting club from a list I provide. My policy is to not repeat a BJCP style for 3 years, so my available BJCP style list is always changing. I don't see the AHA specifying a Session Beers competition to be one of the 6 COCs each year, but I could be wrong.

So there you have it. Now...if any of you who homebrew would want to start up a session beer competition in their local club (ahem...Bob), I'd be happy to post about that here if you let me know. Meantime, I'll see what I can do about prodding the Philadelphia homebrew scene on sessions.


  1. The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild used to hold a homebrewing a competition called 'Small and Tiny'. I think the name was in response to the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild's Big & Huge competition.

  2. I'm gonna pass along this link to some local home-brewers -- a couple who list Bitter as their favorite beer... mmm, Chiswick!

  3. Great idea Lew.

    I find myself brewing session beers often. Makes the malt go further and those small brews fit into my everyday life easier.


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