This is the season to go outside, have barbeque’s and enjoy life with friends. I understand there are people around the world that enjoy the winter time, winter sports and bitterly cold weather, but for everyone else the spring and summer time is the time to kick back and get lazy.
Need further proof? Many folks take their annual vacation in the summer time and enjoy time off from work and time with their families. This is a great time for a popular American past time: drinking. More specifically, drinking a nice refreshing cold brew! It seems like a great time to break out the definition of a session beer and explain, in more detail than required, what the purpose of a session beer is all about.
“A chiefly British term used to describe beer that is low in alcohol and is easy to enjoy.” (about.com)
The alcohol level of the beer should be lower in order to enjoy more than one of these fine beers. As fun as it might be to drink yourself under the table with a single beer, the fun ends for you quickly and begins for your friends. Unless you’re willing to explain to your co-workers why you’ve got dirty jokes written in pen on your arm or a penis drawn on your nose you probably want to consider a less potent beer.
When socializing with friends over “a few beers,” you may want to consider something lower in alcohol so you can enjoy them for awhile and share old stories with friends and family. Please, don’t confuse a “session beer” with a “saison beer” which is a French word for “season” and has a completely different definition which we can speak to later.
“Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes, you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.)” (beeradvocate)
You’ll probably find a beer tagged as a session to be less hoppy with very little overpowering taste, perhaps more like a “common mans” beer. The price has to be reasonable since it will be purchased in higher volumes and will still hold an appealing flavor so you’ll want to drink one… or two… or more
Great examples of this style of beer that might work as a session: Guinness, Newcastle, some American Hefeweizen, most wheat ales or a typical Pilsner. You may want to shy away from India Pale Ale when socializing or drink in moderation as an IPA is usually a higher alcohol content than other styles of beer.
So, there you go, the most long winded explanation of Session beers. Now go socialize, enjoy the spring and eagerly await the summer (well, unless you’re in Australia, then you can get your jackets on and sit down with a winter ale)