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  1. #1
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    Anyone else tired of the session beer fad?

    Marketing hype, or a great style?

    I personally am not a fan.

    Discuss.

  2. #2
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    Love it. The last two beers I brewed were 4.5% single hop pale ales with generous late hop additions. Strong beers are delicious and interesting under the right circumstance, but flavourful-yet-easy-drinking beers have been long overlooked by many craft brewers. Don't get me wrong, I love a Belgian Quad or IIPA as much as the next guy, but having beers with that big fruity US-IPA hop flavour that you can "session" without getting utterly s***faced is great. The Europeans have known this for centuries, English Bitters, German Helles lager, traditional sub-4% Saisons, etc etc.

    That said, when I was in the US recently I was pretty disappointed with the "session IPA" type beers I tried from Coronado and Green Flash. The GF one was a single hop Citra and can't remember the name of the Coronado one, but they both lacked body and just tasted like watery hops. Maybe you guys need to send some brewers over here to learn how it's done, Liberty's Oh Brother (5.1%) and 8wired's Semiconductor (4.4%) are both fantastic hoppy brews on the more "sessionable" side.

  3. #3
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    I'm a fan. It's nice to drink something with some hop flavors but lower in alcohol and not as filling. I think the style has been mainly pushed by the actual brewers themselves, who in many cases, drink a lot of beer at industry events and want to be able to enjoy a bunch of beers with flavor, without getting full on wasted.

    Also, these lighter styles are boosting different hop profiles than your average IPA as they are able to be more subtle since they are not trying to battle a big malt bill used to reach 7+% abv.

  4. #4
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    Anyone else tired of the session beer fad?

    I am also a fan. It's good to have something I can drink all day and still function.
    The session ipa's are a result of the double and triple ipa's that have flooded the market over the lat couple years. People want the flavor, but not always the alcohol.
    I have tried Stone Go To IPA, Lagunitas Day Time IPA and a few others. Love the Stone Go To. It goes down a little too quick sometimes though.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

  5. #5
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    I'm a fan of the session style brew. It's true that I'll try pretty much anything being described as beer. If I'm not an immediate fan the rest of the 4/6 pack goes into the fridge until I'm in the mood. I also find that in the summer I tend to gravitate towards the lower alcohol, less hoppy, less body beers since I'll need more to quench my thirst after a ride, after the boat, etc when I'm lounging in the lawn chair looking out over the lake at the cabin.
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  6. #6
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    Anyone else tired of the session beer fad?

    I've spent a lot of time in England, and they understand session beers. I'm a fan. Drinking 7% IPAs or other local micros makes a rough night.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  7. #7
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    To the OP: Sessionable beers are not a Fad. Lower ABV Saisons are pretty much the original beer style, you could say that Sessionable beers are the original Beers.

    I like all beer styles for the most part and really appreciate when brewers are trying to do with Higher flavor and aroma Pale Ales with a low ABV. Personally I do not sit down and "session" a bunch of beers at a time unless I am doing 2-3oz taster pours, but it is great for guys who really like to throw them back and not get totally wasted.
    telling me to stay out of a former bombing range next to a dump while you build huge houses next to it? Screw you.-sandmangts

  8. #8
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    For me, my beer selection varies seasonally. When it's cold, I tend to go for big, dark, high alcohol, high flavor beers. In the summertime, I tend to want lower alcohol and a crisper flavor, so session IPA's work well for me here. especially those that accentuate the citrusy aspects of hops.

  9. #9
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    Anyone else tired of the session beer fad?

    I went to an outdoor wedding last Saturday. I more or less had a pint in my hand from 2:30-10:00. Consumption was generally slow but steady. The groom is a brewer at one of our locals, and they had three varieties on tap, including their very popular IPA. There was no way I was going to drink that all day. I had one, and stuck to the lower ABV offerings for the rest.
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    I absolutely dig the "trend" here. I am desperately awaiting something with the flavor/mouthfeel of an IIPA or Russian Imperial but with 4% alcohol. Brewers are a smart and creative bunch so I expect it's coming.

  11. #11
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    I love session IPAs. Ever since I tried my first one, I've been pushing for more of them from my friends in the beer biz. I love IPAs and double ipas. But, you can't really have more than 1 or 2 if you're planning on driving home.

    Also great for hot summer days when you know you're going to have more than a few.

  12. #12
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    I guess I'm in the minority here. I do call this a trend or fad though, as it seems every brand is tossing out the "session" label. Sure, lower alcohol brews have been around since the dawn of beer, but now it has a catchy name.

    I do like all beer though, and I have had a few of the style. But when I drink an IPA, I want the alcohol of an IPA too. I also do not like the same price points as bigger beers, that seems odd to me.

    Not my thing, but to each his own.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by backcountryeti View Post
    I do like all beer though, and I have had a few of the style. But when I drink an IPA, I want the alcohol of an IPA too. I also do not like the same price points as bigger beers, that seems odd to me.
    I figure I'm paying for the quality of the beer, not necessarily the alcohol content. Otherwise, I'd be drinking malt liquor.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  14. #14
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    Re: Anyone else tired of the session beer fad?

    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I figure I'm paying for the quality of the beer, not necessarily the alcohol content. Otherwise, I'd be drinking malt liquor.
    I certainly don't consider alcohol content when looking at the cost of a beer. Quality and somewhat the scarceness of a beer. If it tastes good I don't care how much alcohol is in it.

  15. #15
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    Session beer is just a marketing term for a well-balanced, drinkable beer that isn't trying to punch you in the face with an extreme flavor profile or off-the-charts alcohol content.

    The Europeans have had this type of beer mastered for centuries. It's great we're finally getting some tasty offerings from American craft brewers.

  16. #16
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    Can y'all throw out some examples of the sessions beers you like. I saw Stone and the Lagunitas examples mentioned. Had both of those and do like them, but please include your favorites. I like the idea of sessions beers, but I have a hard time finding ones I like. Luckily, my local brewery makes a fine example, but I want suggestions in the bottle/can.
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  17. #17
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    8wired Semiconductor was miles ahead of the few US ones I've tried, but good luck finding it outside of NZ!

  18. #18
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    I do like session beers. I just don't care if they have the word session on the label.

    I home brew beer, and have seen the cost of ingredients rise (especially malt), so I have a small idea of the cost differential between making a 5% ABV beer vs a 10% ABV beer.

    I worked at the old Marty's in Allston, MA for a bunch of years before they moved. I tried to rotate out the old and bring in a greater variety of styles rather than just carrying everything a brewery put out. Doing the ordering I saw what the different beers from a given brewery cost.

    Perhaps it is just in New England, but the liquor stores are charging more for beers that I believe cost less to produce. As well, why the hell do the locally made beers cost the same as beers from the other side of the country? I hate walking into a store and seeing all the six or twelve packs from one brewery costing the same just because the math is easier. Same thing with 22oz bottles.

    Sorry for the thread hijacking.

  19. #19
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    Session beer is just a marketing term for a well-balanced, drinkable beer that isn't trying to punch you in the face with an extreme flavor profile or off-the-charts alcohol content.

    The Europeans have had this type of beer mastered for centuries. It's great we're finally getting some tasty offerings from American craft brewers.
    This.

    I'm a big fan of well made lagers and pils and am continually searching for US made varieties that can compete with the Euros. I see many breweries jumping on the "Session" bandwagon which I hope will lead to more and better brews for us stateside. Many are frankly pretty lame in comparison, although to be fair, it's a tough beer to brew well and they have had centuries to perfect it.

  20. #20
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    No more tired than I am of some iconoclastic beers and/or brews where you have to do homework to know what you're drinking. I hate a bunch of label reading to know if you're picking up an ale, lager, stout ect....

    My neighborhood brewery is old compared to most micro brewers and find their pilsner made for 35+ years is a fine a lighter beer many do not appreciate and same for their APA also sold in cans. They've got a bunch of newer beers with catchy names and I get bummed when a store is promoting those and has none of a recipe or type that's been popular for generations.

    Some of the session beers go too far with hops for the amount of malt and alcohol and that's what makes the traditional brews from my neighborhood brewery nice.

    Same brewery has an IPA in cans that's not 7%+ so that's sort of session beer.

    Capital Brewery (Pilsner, APA are great among others).

  21. #21
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    The Session IPA fad is definitely a good thing. The craft and IPA explosion in the US has produced phenomenal beer....not good or decent, but phenomenal. In my opinion, the best beer in the world, with not a true close second anymore, because of the huge number of really high quality craft brew available everywhere now in the US. That said, many of the really good IPAs are super high in ABV, so it makes it difficult to drink more than a couple. Session will meet that need. While right now I think there are some decent ones out there, there are no great session IPA's available yet, but the explosion of the style and the ability of US brewers leaves little doubt that there soon will be. So it is a good thing. I have Stone Goto IPA on tap at the house right now, because I wanted beer with flavor but one that I could put on at a party where people wanted to drink more than a couple. It worked out well for that, but the beer is not world class like the top line IPA offerings from Stone are. The brewers will get there soon, and that is a good thing if you like good beer.

  22. #22
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    Someone finally figured out why I drink Coors Light...just calling it a "session beer" now.
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  23. #23
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    It's a nice alternative to drinking domestic stuff. Drakes Alpha Session is a notable one.
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  24. #24
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    Only brewing fad I'm tired of is Belgian IPA's, feed it to the fish as far as I'm concerned.

    Only thing I don't like about craft session beers is the price.

  25. #25
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    A Belgian IPA is a good thing if done right, but I've tried plenty that aren't so I kinda agree. Green Flash LeFreak is probably my favourite.

    As for the price, so long as a beer is made with all quality malt and lots of hops, it is going to cost considerably more than a "domestic" beer brewed by the millions-of-litres with corn syrup. I don't think reducing the grain bill to drop the ABV from 7% to 4.5% will make a huge impact on the final price, so I'm not surprised these Session IPAs are still craft-beer-expensive. According to this article by Stu from Yeastie Boys raw ingredients only make up about 8% of the final price of their beers.


    *edit* just re-read your post and figured you may already be well aware of this and only mention the price because you wish it didn't cost so much to have a session on them. If so, then carry on...

    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Someone finally figured out why I drink Coors Light...just calling it a "session beer" now.
    Not sure if serious or....

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