Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Session beers

I've always had a problem with the term "session beer". This is a phrase used to describe beers that are easy drinking and lower in alcohol. A beer that you can drink three or four (or more) of and not fall off the ol' bar stool.

But just what is a session, anyway? "Hey pal, care to join us in a beer drinking session?" This event where you sit around and drink a few rounds of these beers would seem to be the session that's referenced. And I don't know about you, but I've never heard anyone refer to this as a session. "OK, Ethel, I'm headed down to the Blarney Stone for a session." No. Nobody says that. And don't get me started on "sessionable".

Alas, this curious phrase appears to be the lexicon. So we'll go along with it against our will.

Why bring this up? The New York Times ran a very interesting piece on the trend towards producing more of these types of beers in the American craft brewing scene. There are quotes from microbrewers all over the country talking about how there's a real need for some lighter beers to balance all of the big giant strong beers being produced out there. I couldn't agree more. However, as usual, this isn't just about market need and craft and all that wonderful feel-good stuff. Malted barley, hops, and most importantly, the gasoline used to ship them to the brewery cost more than they even have. A coincidence that everyone has suddenly recognized the market need for beers that use less raw material at the same time? Right.

Thanks to the NYCHG for influencing the author today.

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