Monday, June 13, 2011

What's This I Keep Hearing About Session Beers?

Triple-hopped, barrel-aged, imperial, sour - there always seems to be a new buzzword around beer. Lately, it appears that "session beers" are all the rage. We've been lauding the virtues of these low abv beers for quite some time but now, finally, some others are catching on. See Brother Dan's article in June's issue of Food & Wine.

There is no hard and fast definition of a session beer but the concept originated in England and the general consensus is that they are beers below 4.5% abv that are light in body yet still flavorful. Beers, in other words, that you'd be able to drink a few pints of in one session and still be coherent and, just as importantly, beers that you'd want to drink a few pints of.

We certainly have no problem with the bigger beers when the occasion warrants but are happy to see that others are realizing that that's not all there is to drink. Bigger is not always better. When you drink as often as we do, it's nice to be able to sit for a spell over these "smaller" beers. And summer is the perfect season for exploring session beers. Why not start tomorrow?

At this Tuesday's weekly $10 Tasting event at Jimmy's No. 43, Union Beer's Mike Lovullo will be pouring samples of 6 different British beers. One of the beers will be Coniston Old Man Ale, a 4.4% bottle-conditioned brown ale.  Remarkably complex for its strength, it is brewed with Marris Otter malt plus a bit of crystal malt and roasted barley and is hopped with Challenger hops. Chocolately up front, it finishes dry and roasty, balanced with hop bitterness. A lovely ale fruitiness is found throughout the beer.  The "Old Man" is not a person but a mountain in the Lake District that can be seen from the brewery.

Jimmy's is located at 43 E. 7th Street and the tastings start at 7:30 pm.

Next Tuesday's tasting will feature ciders, in anticipation of Cider Appreciation Day at Jimmy's on Thursday 23 June.

And while we're on the topic of session-style beers, look out for a new batch of kegs of Taras Boulba from Belgium's Brasserie de la Senne, arriving in town this week. This 4.5% ale is all you could ask for in a summery beer - loaded with complex Belgian yeast flavors and hopped to refreshing perfection.  Ok - now I'm thirsty.

1 comment:

  1. I'm an avid beer and cider enthusiast. I am curious about the logistics you employ to get your craft ciders to NYC. Do you warehouse them in Massachusetts then ship them to warehouses nearer NYC before they get on the truck to retailers and restaurants? Are there any points in your supply chain at which you employ refrigerated containers? The cider I am most curious about is the Apel Treow: they are from my hometown in Wisconsin, and I want to show off their ciders to my friends in NYC, where I now live. In fact, I'm headed over to Americain Beer Distributors on Court street in brooklyn, right now. My friends are nerds for this stuff, so any and all help is greatly appreciated. Feel free to contact me directly at