|Thanks to Iron Hill brewer Larry Horwitz for the pic!|
Well...That's Jason. And that's his dog. And the tiny little guy...is named Session. Which I thought was cool enough to warrant a post!
|Thanks to Iron Hill brewer Larry Horwitz for the pic!|
Yeah, I know, the Queen Bess is 4.8%...don't miss the forest for one tree! The other three are 4.5% or less, so this is a solidly session-oriented brewery. Hope to try their beers sometime soon (going to SF in the fall)!Dee'z English Mild, our flag ship ale, is a malty brown ale with subtle coffee & chocolate roast flavors. With a dry finish balanced by a rich hop character & weighing in at 4.0% a.b.v. , this is a beer for every day enjoyment.Old Brick Bitter, our Special Bitter, is a malty, full bodied English style Pale Ale with a dry and hoppy finish. We use all English pale and specialty malts finishing with a generous amount of East Kent Golding hops making this session beer perfect for cask, beer engine and traditional draught service, A real ale - 4.5% a.b.v.Queen Bess IPA, an English Style India Pale Ale. Firmly bittered and balanced with a soft malt profile. Dry, spicy, and floral, this beer is perfect with a meal or just enjoying a pint at 4.8% a.b.v.Hop Candi, a West Coast interpretation of an English IPA. It is hoppy in the sense that it provides a wonderful bouquet, however the malt and underlying bitterness balance into a clean finish leaving only subtle hints of citrus and rye. This beer finishes dry and comes in at 4.5% a.b.v.
There is no perfect consensus as to the definition of “Session Beer,” but beer drinkers can perhaps agree on the following: Session Beers are generally served on draft and average around 5% ABV or lower- so that you can drink multiple servings in a “session.” At ShawneeCraft we create Session Beers with the utmost respect for flavor and tradition but with only intermittent respect for the ABV conventions. Our Session Beers range in ABV from as low as 4.2% to as high as 7.2% and above, and are on draft at the Gem & Keystone and other selected establishments.
This is the trademarked image from ShawneeCraft's website. I reproduce it here as news, and will take it down if they simply ask.
|Is this the drinker of so-called "Session Beer"?|
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention both define “one drink” to be a 12-ounce glass of beer of about 5% alcohol. So if 5% is the standard, it makes sense to believe that for a beer to be a session beer, it must definitely be below this limit. How low is often up for debate, and we won’t bother getting into that.I do get into that, of course, but I'm a writer: it's my job. And I have taken on the project of getting attention, respect, and love for those lower alcohol beers. It doesn't surprise me that there's resistance -- though the smattering of hostility the idea has encountered baffles me, frankly -- but now that things are starting to turn...that doesn't surprise me, either.
Named because you can savor several of them in a drinking session, this loose category of lower-alcohol beers (usually 4.5 percent ABV and below), following the guidelines at the Session Beer Project blog, dials down the booze but still retains plenty of aroma and flavor. In other words, they’re the perfect brews for sipping by the six-pack at the beach or a backyard BBQ.Note, session-deniers: "this loose category of lower-alcohol beers." I've run into several nay-sayers lately who have been telling me -- and the world -- that session beer isn't really a category, because it's just about ABV. Ahem. You're missing the point. "Session beer" is not a GABF "category," it's not a "style." It is an identifier, a guideline to handily point out the flavorful beers with lower-alcohol. I'd say, "and that's all it is," but that would be denigrating!
The only problem, if not with beers like this [big flavorful 'craft' beers, by which I'm pretty sure he means 'American-type craft beers'] then with some of the people who drink them, is the tendency to think in binary black and white. If extreme and experimental beers are exciting and flavourful, it follows – in some minds at least – that traditional, lower strength beers must be boring.I tend to do that myself...or I did. Now I find myself shying away from the huge palate wreckers -- mostly, I still grab one occasionally, and it's probably a 'vacation' -- and seeing what's offered 'on the left side of the dial.' Can a brewer make interesting low alcohol beers? That's a talent, a skill, and I'm curious to find it.
I’ve never believed this.
I’ve always disagreed with it in principle.
But I have found myself, whenever I’m given a choice, opting for the adventurous.
The British tradition for the low strength sessionable pint is unique in the world. The craft beers we enjoy now are heavily influenced by North America where, lacking the British cask ale tradition, high alcohol levels are an important factor in delivering character to a beer.That first sentence, of course, is the drum that beer contrarian Andy Crouch pounds here until the head breaks. "In choosing the ‘session’ banner, American promoters have knowingly wedded themselves to a beer culture that is entirely foreign to this country." We have no session beer culture, Andy says, so this seed will fall on stony places, and because it has no root, it will wither away.
So let’s hear it for the session pint – the pint you can drink at lunchtime without falling asleep at your desk in the afternoon. The pint you can sink quickly on a hot day without setting a trajectory towards oblivion, via the kebab shop. The pint where the aromatic hops stroke your cheek rather than punch you in the face, and where flavours dance subtly rather than pogo on your tongue.
My love for strong, heady craft beer will never die. But sometimes you find yourself at a bar where every beer you want, you want it to be the last beer of the night. That’s when you yearn for the session pint – your trusty friend with whom drinking responsibly doesn’t have to mean not drinking enough.
SESSION BEER LINE AS PART OF LEW BRYSON’S SESSION BEER PROJECT
As part of Lew Bryson's Session Beer Project, Line 3 is going to be our session beer line. Session beers have an alcohol by volume of 4.5% or less. They are the beer to have if you are having more than one. As a side benefit, they are also lower in calories. When Cricket Hill Noctern kicks, which at 4.75% ABV just misses officially being a session beer, line 3 will be for session beers. In the meantime, Roy Pitz Best Blonde, which clocks in at 4.5%, on is line 7, so we have a session beer already.
|Spotted on SBD in a bar in Parma, Italy|
As consumers, we can order the beers. Talk nice about them at the bar. Urge our friends to drink them. Leave a nice tip. Compliment the brewers. Suggest you'd like to see more beers like that. Ask how they are made (attention homebrewers: DON'T tell the professional brewer how to lower the gravity and make a better beer). Find out how the brewer might get more flavor even while tossing in less grain.
Notch Brewing have also drawn the line at 4.5%, but have taken it further than Lew by using the terms “American Session Beer” and “American Session Ale”. This is much more to my liking, since it clearly distinguishes that the definition being used is ‘American’ in origin and therefore should not be confused with the original, authentic one. I can live with that as long as the ‘American’ aspect is emphasized to distinguish it from the real McCoy.
Make sure you're prepared for #SessionDay on April 7th, drink anything under 4.5%. 312, Honkers Ale, and Old Town Yard would qualify!Thank you, Goose Island! Now...if we could get some Levitation Love at Stone World HQ...and some official love from our favorite session brewers in Philly, Yards and Philadelphia Brewing...and maybe some shout-out from Vanberg & DeWulf over Avril and Jade...my Session Beer Day world would pretty much rock.
Sure, we used to like IPA quite a lot, and we still enjoy a pint now and then, but, as is the case with such things, our taste changed over time, and we found ourselves going back to classic European beers. We weren’t going to try to recreate those, either, but we like to think that our beer leans more in that direction, with a decided American accent.Although I like IPA more than "now and then," I'm liking the classic European beers a lot. So H and M's Beer of the Gods (Germanic lager) and Two-Headed Beast (stout) hit me right in my happy spot...and they're both 4.5%. Thanks, guys!
The Eagle & Lion Brew Pub is now open for drinks and food. The unique brewery specializes in English-style Real Ale served from the casks they were conditioned in. The brewer, Mark Broe, trained at Brewlab at the University of Sunderland and worked several years at the Grand Union Brewery in London. The opening line-up will include a mild, an ordinary bitter, a gold, a special bitter, a single-hop varietal IPA, and a stout. The 8 barrel brewery is from the Birmingham Brewery in the UK. Craft keg beers will be featured along with interesting bottled beers, as well as a full service bar. The scratch menu emphasizes pub food and changes daily.Currently, the house beers include Tipsy Toad (3.7%), Golden Eagle (4.2%), Brass Monkey (4.2%),