Monday, March 19, 2012

Session Beer Day, April 7!

I suggested to the members of the small (but rapidly growing) Session Beer Project page on Facebook that we should make April 5th (4.5) or April 7th (Little Repeal Day, when 4.0% ABV beer became legal before repeal of the 18th Amendment) our day, Session Beer Day. We could ask for session beers at our favorite bars, and brewpubs, and suchlike, invite people to try them, gin up plenty of social media whoopee, and all dat.

We decided on April 7: there are a lot of photographs of a LOT of Americans happily drinking 4.0% beer we can use, it's a day the beer industry is already aware of,'s a Saturday this year (the day before Easter, which is actually kind of weird for me; I have a tradition of drinking big beers that afternoon), which doesn't hurt when you're planning a beer event!

What to do? If you work at a bar (or manage one, or own one), please consider throwing some under-4.5% beers on for April 7th, and making a special price or promotion for them. Tell folks it's Session Beer Day, and encourage them to see how good lower alcohol beers can be. (Good day to get a "We Support" window sticker, too!) If you're a brewer or wholesaler, encourage your accounts to pick up your under-4.5% beers for that day; it's a great chance to promote those beers! If you're a beer blogger/tweeter/writer, please consider spreading the word about Session Beer Day: use the hashtag #sessionday . And if you're a session beer drinker...get out there and ask for it!


  1. Ironically, isn't this also the traditional day for split thy skull.. the Saturday before Easter? Talk about the opposite of session ales.

  2. Lew? Big fan of session beer day-- I try to keep a session homebrew on tap at all times (currently quaffing a 2.8% bitter). But all your symbols are wrong, it reads "greater than" ">" 4.5%.

    More session beers!

  3. I believe it is < 4.5 not >4.5 but I might be wrong in which case I apologize. Thumbs up to Session Beer Day!

  4. >4.5% should be <4.5%

  5. Sorry about that everyone: fixed.

    And yes, the irony of the timing with Split Thy Skull wasn't lost on me!

  6. There are a lot of unofficial random beer drinking holidays in the US. Aptil 7th is National Beer Day

    New Beer’s Eve – April 6th
    National Beer Day – April 7th
    National Homebrew Day – First Saturday in May
    American Craft Beer Week – Starts on the 3rd Monday in May and goes for a week
    International Beer Day – Aug. 5th
    National Beer Lover’s Day – Sept. 7th
    National Drink a Beer Day – Sept. 28th
    American Beer Day – Oct. 27th

    National Beer Day (April 7th) is the only with with a historically significant date. In 1933 during the prohibition era, the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt on March 23rd. That law was enacted on April 7th allowing the brewing and sale of beer in the United States again as long as it was < 3.2% (4% ABV). It’s said that people waited in line overnight on April 6th outside Milwaukee breweries in order to legally buy beer for the first time in over 13 years. As a result, April 7th is known as National Beer Day and April 6th is called New Beers Eve.

    National Beer Days around the world -
    March 1st – Iceland
    April 6th – England
    April 7th – USA
    April 23rd – Germany

  7. Transcribed from Oliver Ales' FB page:

    "Oliver Ales and The Pratt Street Ale House are honored to participate by offering our 3 year round session beers (Blonde Ale 4.3%, Dark Horse Mild 4% & Bishop's Breakfast 4.4%) for $3/pint on the day."

  8. I believe the traditional definition of "session" beer is 4% ABV and under. At least in the U.K.

    who determines where to draw the line and on what basis?

  9. Chad, "traditional" is a tricky word. Give this post from Martyn Cornell (who definitely knows a thing or two about UK beer and drinking) a thorough read, including comments:

    Then, let me repeat myself: I drew an arbitrary line at 4.5% ABV for this blog. I did that by considering the increasing ABV of American craft beer, the lower ABV of contemporary English cask ales, the 4.8-5.2% ABV range of everyday German lagers, the 10P "worker's beers" of the Czech Republic ("desitka," thank you, Ron Pattinson), and -- finally -- the paucity of beers available in America that are under 4.0%. There's an element of inclusiveness to it (4.0% would mean a lot fewer American beers in the pool), and a certain element of the 'speed limit effect' in that a tenth of a point or two over 4.5% is better -- in a 'lower alcohol' sense -- than a tenth of a point or two over 5.0%.

    But over all? I'm happy to admit that I set that line on my own. It represents a compromise that was intended -- and has, to a pleasing degree -- to encourage American beer drinkers to request lower alcohol, flavorful beers at good beer bars and brewpubs, and to encourage American brewers to brew them. It was never my intent to hew directly to the UK definition -- and as implied above, I don't necessarily even agree that a strict 4.0% limit is part of that definition -- but rather to get more attention for lower alcohol beers in the U.S., where our beer 'tradition' derives from multiple beer traditions, not just the English.

    The blog is intended for an American audience, after all, and we do quite a few things differently from traditional UK practices. Dialing our session beer at 4.5% as opposed to 4.0% seems to me to be a rather small difference, given our proclivity for much, MUCH bigger beers here. Anyway, that's the reasoning.

  10. Hi, Lew- love what you are doing for the cause of session beers. Looking forward to April 7 and have been dedicating my blog to profiling a session beer (that is available in New Orleans) every day until the 7th. If anyone is interested in checking it out:



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