The topic for this month's The Session is titled Session Beer and is hosted over at Top Fermented.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a Session Beer is a well balanced, easy-drinking beer with a clean finish and a moderate to low alcohol level. To put it another way, its a beer that you can enjoy several of during one drinking session without overwhelming the senses or becoming intoxicated. The Austin Amber and Freestyle from Independence Brewing and the Summer Pils from Saint Arnold Brewing are all different styles, but excellent examples of session beers.
Unfortunately, session beers are often overlooked or simply ignored. There's actually a lot of session beers being produced, they just don't get talked about or blogged about as much since they're not as sexy or exciting as ones that have double-digit ABV's, unique ingredients and odd fermentation processes. Beer bars, which are commonly rated and judged based on the number of extreme or rare beers they have on tap, will often choose the more unique offerings from a brewery over any session beers that they may produce.
I'll admit that I'm usually drawn to the new and unique beers when I browse the local beer store or check the wall of taps at a favourite bar, but they're often beers that you can't (or don't want to) drink more then one of at a time. However, sometimes its nice to just relax and enjoy a few mellow beers without having to consider the alcohol content or whether its going to ruin your taste buds for the next beer. It's one of the reasons that I brewed my own session beer. I hope craft breweries continue to expand the session beer market, but its beers like Brewdog's Sink the Bismark and their ongoing battle with Schorschbrau for the title of strongest beer in the world that will continue to grab beer headlines.