Session Beer

Got a good piece of knowledge dropped on me this weekend by Drew Mowery.

Check out what he said:

Now, you are probably aware that beers can be grouped by the type of fermentation that produces them (ale vs. lager), their flavor (porter vs. IPA vs. amber ale), and even their strength (dubbel vs. trippel vs. imperial).  Apparently they can also be grouped by their intended drinking style.

One of the more interesting designations that exists is that of a “session beer” — a beer of ~3-5 % alcohol with a with a good balance between malt and hop characters and a clean finish that gives it “high drinkability”.  Basically, one good beer to drink when you’re drinking more than one — literally a beer designed to be consumed in high volumes without overwhelming your palate or getting you so drunk that you can’t continue drinking.

The term originated in England during World War I when factory managers imposed two allowable drinking periods on shell production workers.  They had two 4 hour sessions each day when they were allowed to take a break and hit the bar.  Since they frequently went back to work after one of these sessions, the workers sought beer that they could drink for hours on end and still remain relatively coherent.  Thus, the session beer.

Proper grammatical usage:  “I went to the liquor store and picked up an imperial porter for a night cap, but wanted a good session beer for Saturday, so I grabbed a twelver of PBR” or “let’s session some Guinness tonight”