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The Arrival of the Session Beer…Finally?

Around this time last year I was already fairly confident that session beers were making large inroads into the mainstream (of craft beer drinkers) and I was already making  predictions for the Next Big Thing: sweet beers.

Well, the sweet beer thing never materialized. Beers in the American Pale Ale profile still dominate the market, with a rising focus on single hop ales. More fringe styles are making their way to beer bar taps: guezes, kolsches, and especially sours—all styles already on the way out for the people that follow this stuff by a/vocation. But where are the low ABV beers?

Erik Loomis at LGM links to this post at WaPo’s All We Can Eat blog and notes:

I may have written about this type of thing before, but while there is definitely a place in the world for an 8 or 9% ABV beer, there is also plenty of room for very tasty brews with 4 and 5% ABV.

We here are DC agree and are a little more certain that we’ve written “this type of thing before.

We’ve already started to see a trend back toward small beer; and most geek circles have a strong contingent of folk who adamantly demand sessionable ales. The trend toward lower ABVs is, I think, a regression to the mean of sorts after the “extreme beer” phenomenon. I don’t think that extreme beers are gone, or that they should be. Three Floyds and Dogfish Head are still out there, and you can count me in among their fans.

The beers WaPo’s Greg Kitsock notes are here or on their way are:

  • Sam Adams Belgian Session
  • New Belgian Shift
  • DC Brau/Pratt Street Ale House Burial at Sea (Is this still around, and if so anyone know where I can grab a pint?)
  • Lost Rhino Brewing Co. [Unnamed] Helles Lager
  • Founders All Day IPA

Burial at Sea was a limited run-only beer, Session, Shift, and the unnamed beer aren’t out yet; and Founders is only marketed regionally (Chicago pals, feel free to ship me a bottle or two), so it’s hard to say how the market will open up for these beers, but I still suspect the reception will be favorable. Furthermore this gives me a lot of beers to put on my ticker list* for when I have $$$ again.

*With the exception of irregular participation at Untappd, I do not have a ticker list. (But if you want to, you can be my Untappd “friend” and see all the badges I’ve won!)

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Posted in Beer Styles.

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