Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Session Beer

I've been reading a lot of articles online lately about the nation's need for more session beer - beers under 5% ABV that are refreshing and flavorful. I admit, I love me a big beer. My 'favorite' style is the IIPA. I go crazy for Russian Imperial Stouts. I seek out as many barley wines as a guy can find. I love big beer, but it just isn't reasonable to enjoy them in quantity night in and night out.

That said, I seriously look forward to the Spring when craft brewers from around the country introduce beers missing the "Imperial" on the label. It pretty much begins in mid-April with the introduction of the year's Maibock releases. Yes, they're generally more than 5%, but not by much, and they're full of flavor with a wonderful mouthfeel. Yes, when I see the Helles or Mai Bocks on the shelf, my liver, waistline and senses are happy.

My latest trip to the beer store today was even more encouraging, as it is now becoming easier to find beers I can start enjoying before dinner. Let's examine some of my finds from the day, shall we?

Anchor Bock & Full Sail LTD 02 (6.4 & 5.5%) - Officially FS isn't a Maibock, but the wonderful sweetness in these beers are wonderful on cool Spring nights. The Anchor Bock is dark, rich and with a nice roast character.

Full Sail Session (5.1%) - if you haven't tried this beer, it may be the most perfect Summer time beer on the market. I've taken cases camping, buy them when I am doing home improvement projects or working on my '72 Ford Stepside. Light, crisp, refreshing and not lacking flavor.

Lagunitas Pils (5.3%)- I haven't tried this years version, but my memories have this as another crisp, clean finishing beer that is easy to drink more than a couple of.

Deschutes Buzzsaw Brown (4.8%)- At under 5% this beer is shockingly full of flavor, like lightly toasted bread and moderate hop spice and bittering. A great beer and hard to comprehend it has less alcohol than Session.

There were others, but I wasn't taking notes.

If you're a blog reader you're aware that May is mild beer month overseas - of course, celebrating the 'mild' style virtually unknown in the US. We don't have a lot of traditional Mild beers here, but certainly it will be worth your time to search out some of these more mild beers. Use the list above, or do some label reading yourself to find a new beer you like that is low in alcohol and full of flavor. If you find one you like, be sure to let us know.

More Info
Mild Beer Month - Brookstone
Cooking with Milds - CAMRA