What is session beer? If you know me you know what session beer is because you've probably heard me gripe about the lack of it for over two years, but for those that do not, I agree with the beer writer Lew Bryson on his definition of session beer:
- 4.5% alcohol by volume or less
- flavorful enough to be interesting
- balanced enough for multiple pints
- conducive to conversation
- reasonably priced
The craft beer culture is coming up around so many fads that seem to ebb and flow. The race for the hoppiest, highest ABV,longest barrel aged, most sour, crazy ingredients, and strangest hops are all part of the landscape, but those have no staying power in my opinion. Great beer has staying power.
Indiana has several breweries producing beer that falls into the session beer definition. One that makes several is New Albanian in New Albany. Their community dark is a full flavored English dark mild at 3.7%, their tafel beer at 4%, and they will have another beer available on April 7th that will weigh in at 4%. We get some New Albanian beer here in Indianapolis, but as far as I know I've never seen any of those or Abzug on tap here in Indianapolis. A real pleasure though this summer if you can get down to the Bank Street Brewhouse and get a pint of Community Dark and sit outside. That is good living right there.
Here is a list of Indiana beers I can think of that currently would fit the session beer model.
Upland Wheat at 4.5%
Ram Brewing Company Big Horn Blonde 4.4%
People's Pilsner: 4.2%
Brugge Brasserie White 4.5%
Shorleline Foggy Loggy Lager 4.4%
Oaken Barrel Brewing Alabaster Wit 4.5%
Rock Bottom Circle City Light 3.9%
Flat 12's 12 Penny Scottish Ale 3.4%
Crown Brewing Crown Brown 4.1%
I am sure there are more that are less than 4.5%, but I'm can't seem to remember any more. If you know of more that are below 4.5% that will be available on April 7th please leave a note.
I hope this will bring about more brewers to put on full flavored low alcohol session beers. The simple fact is that if a brewer can get maximum flavor out of a true session beer I will drink drink anything that brewer ever makes from that point on. It is truly a skill.
Please raise raise a pint of true session beer with me on April 7th, and hopefully many more session beers after that day.