Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Searching for a Session Beer

So, as often happens, it turns out that my brain/tastes are right in line or just ahead of a coming trend. It seems I’m not the only person searching for flavorful beer that isn’t going to knock me out after one glass. Session beers are all the rage – I was just searching in all the wrong places. Check here, here, and here.

The search for a flavorful beer of less than 4.5% is the biggest factor that brought me back to home brewing after a 10+ years absence. I am hop head, there is no doubt about that. And of my 10 favorite beers, 7-8 of them are IPA’s or other aggressively hopped beers. But sometimes, I want a beer in the 3-4.5% range. So what to do?

And while the name “session beer” has never sat well with me, it’s better than “daily drinker” or “lawnmower” beer. One of those makes me sound like an alcoholic and the other simply reminds me of my most hated summertime chore! But session beer? That sounds like I’m visiting a shrink. Let’s drop the nomenclature and just agree that we are looking for Little Beers with Big Flavor!

21st Amendment’s Bitter American and Stone’s Levitation are close to what I’m after. But Bitter American was only around for a limited time, and dropping $12 for a six-pack of Levitation is a splurge for me. I want Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with 2/3 of the alcohol and more hop aroma. I want a beer with oak undertones that won’t put me under the table. I want a beer that I can crack open on a Saturday afternoon and not immediately need a nap.

It’s like Dad Rock (you know, Wilco and the sort, music that is just cool enough, but not too noisy to offend) but in beer form. That’s it. Dad Beer – Small Beers with Big Flavor! Looks like my little basement nano-brewery has a name.

Dad Beer – Because one beer while the kids are napping shouldn’t make you need a nap!


  1. Dad Beer. Love it! I'll check with my brother and see if he's willing to share is session recipe. It's pretty close to bitter american.

  2. Thanks - I'd love to see that recipe. I have two beers in progress now that should be under 4.5%. One is a clone of Sierra Nevada pale ale with a reduced malt bill and an increase in late-addition hops. The other is a malt/wheat/honey beer that is hopped exclusively with sorachi ace and has a little oaking. If my measurements were correct, it should be 3.6%. It's not yet bottled, but tasting it flat, it reminds me of Bell's Oberon with a little oak. I have high hopes!