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Session Ales and Why You Need to be Drinking Them

session ales and why you need to be drinking them beer
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With summer weather finally here in many parts of the country, beer geeks and casual drinkers alike are turning towards a very specific style of brew—the session ale. Session ales have been around for practically as long as beer itself, but their popularity is surely on the rise. The term comes from the fact that these beers are easy to drink in multiples; “session drinking” only works when you’re not pounding high-alcohol beers, and these fit the bill perfectly.

If you’ve just recently heard about session ales and want to learn what all of the fuss is about, here are a few aspects about them to get you started.

Session Ales are Low in Alcohol

There’s nothing better than sinking into a nice, cold beer. But wait—you’ve got things to do! Fear not, however, as session beers are the answer you’ve been looking for. These are typically 4.5% ABV or less, which means you’re not likely to feel the hit from the alcohol unless you’ve had a fair amount of them. Some session ales even dip into the 2% range, in which case three bottles or cans would be equivalent to a normal IPA in terms of alcohol content! It’s no wonder that so many people are moving in the direction of drinking session ales, especially when it comes to having a night out on the town.

How about an ABV of 2.7%? We recommend Evil Twin Bikini Beer.

Session Ales are Delicious

You might think that session ales are “light” beers because they lack the punch of alcohol found in so many other brews. If they’re made properly, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The difference between a generic light beer and a session beer is that the latter is brewed with flavor in mind, typically making use of excessive amounts of hops that result in lush, tropical flavors. Sure, higher-alcohol beers will be far more rich and dense, but is that really what you’re looking for in a day at the beach? Session ales allow you to still retain the great flavors found in many craft beers, yet you don’t have to worry about filling up the way you might if you were to launch into a double IPA.

As far as session ales bursting with flavor go, it doesn’t get much better than Founders All Day IPA.

Session Ales are Everywhere

Chances are this isn’t the first you’ve heard of session ales, and that’s really saying something. The term itself is relatively new, and as with many other trends in the world of craft beer, it has practically exploded over the course of the past few years. Many brewers challenge themselves to create the lowest-alcohol beer they can while still retaining great flavor characteristics, and session ales can be found in plenty of today’s corner stores. It’s definitely a style that works best during the warmer months of the year, but the best and brightest brewhouses in America (and throughout the rest of the world) are adding session ales to their year-round lineups, simply because people just can’t get enough of them.

If you want to try a popular take on the session ale, grab a sixer of Firestone Walker Easy Jack.

Summer is no time for knocking back 10% ABV Russian imperial stouts. Get acquainted with low-alcohol session ales, and you’ll never turn back.

Editors' Recommendations

Erik Neilson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Erik Neilson is a professional freelance writer based in Portland, ME. With over six years of industry experience, Erik has…
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