A Spirits Session by: Nathan Utley

This week I would like to take a look at the term “session beer” and what exactly the term means for you the beer drinker. Ever since Alabama increased the legal ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of beer sell-able in the state a lot of attention has been put on high gravity ales. I’d like to take a closer look at some beers that don’t fall into this category; lower alcohol brews that are fun to drink and easy on the palate. In short, session beer.
While the etymology of the term “session beer” has proven difficult to ascertain, it is widely accepted that it originates from early twentieth century British drinking culture. In general, a session beer is one that can be can be consumed in large quantities over an extended period of time (or a “session”), without overwhelming the drinker’s palate or causing inappropriate levels of intoxication. According to the Great American Beer Festival’s style guidelines for session brews (available at www.GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com), “The goal should be to reach a balance between the style’s character and the lower alcohol content. – Beers in this category must not exceed 5.1% alcohol by volume.” Balance and a clean finish are qualities which are highly sought after in a solid session beer.
So where can you get your hands on a few good session beers? Well here at Spirits Wine Cellar in the Shops of Lake Tuscaloosa, we have several beers that will fit your need. Here are just a few of the good session beer options we offer: North Coast Scrimshaw (4.4%) from California; Magic Hat #9 (5.1%) from Vermont; Bell’s Lager (4.0%) and Oarsman Ale (5.0%) from Michigan; James Boag’s Lager (5.0%) from Tasmania; and Hitachino Nest White Ale (5.0%) from the Kiuchi Brewery in Japan. All of these beers possess qualities that lend themselves to long-term enjoyment. So the next time you’re ready to sit down and have a few good brews, start your session at Spirits. Until next time tasters, good-bye and good beer.


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