Issue 30

Beer Chat: Session Beers

Beer Chat: Session Beers

Squatters Pub Brewery- Full Suspension Pale Ale (Salt Lake City, UT) – 4.0% ABV

Okay sure, I might be a tad biased about this one (I’m from Salt Lake and have been drinking this beer since I turned 21), but there’s a reason it has won two gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Utah state law prohibits grocery stores to sell beer above 4% ABV, so the local breweries have been honing their Session Beer skills for a very long time. This one is my personal nirvana beer. A fantastic American-style Pale Ale with clean, slightly toasty malt character to balance the grapefruit and melon hop flavor and aroma. It finishes crisp and dry, and leaves me begging for another.

St. James’s Gate Brewery- Guinness Draught (Dublin, Ireland) – 4.2% ABV

If you have read this far, there’s a good chance you have had more than one Guinness in your life. They’ve been brewing one version or another of this infamous stout since 1759. Amateur drinkers may find the color intimidating, thinking that something as black as tar certainly must taste like tar. In reality though, Guinness is hardly menacing. Instead, it’s smooth as mulberry silk. The slightest kiss of mocha coffee is about as offensive as this beer gets. Some like to think of Guinness as the quintessential Session Beer, and whether you agree or not, one thing is for sure, you can have more than just one.

Nebraska Brewing Company- Brunette Nut Brown (Papillion, NE) – 4.5% ABV

The state of Nebraska is no stranger to great Session Beers. I could have written more than a dozen spotlights from the Cornhusker State alone. Among my favorites is Nebraska Brewing Company’s English-style brown, a locally made version of a classic British Session Beer. If you’ve ever wondered why brewers use the label “Nut Brown,” this beer is a textbook answer. The toasted nuttiness comes through nicely in both aroma and flavor, and pairs perfectly with hints of lightly sweet bready malt and a very subdued earthy/floral hop character. I may not be the record holder for most consecutive pints of Brunette Nut Brown in one session, but I bet I’m close.

Victory Brewing Company- Prima Pils (Downingtown, PA) – 5.3% ABV

I know it’s a hair over 5% ABV, and it is not currently available in our great state, but if you were lucky enough to make it to the Great Nebraska Beer Fest this past August, hopefully you stopped by the Victory booth to enjoy a sample of Prima Pils. A session favorite amongst my beer geek friends across the nation, this classic German-style Pilsner with fantastic cracker-like Pilsner malt character and the spicy/herbal wallop of hops, ranks high in one of the most crisp and refreshing beer styles in the world. In my book, no great Session Beer list is complete without Prima Pils, even though it does sneak a little North of the unofficial regulations.

Jason McLaughlin

Jason McLaughlin

Jason is a Certified Cicerone, ranked National as a BJCP judge (Beer Judge Certification Program), is a craft beer aficionado, a writer for the Nebraska Beer Blog, and award winning homebrewer living in Lincoln. Jason spends time traveling around the country judging beer competitions, and attending related events. Beer tasting and evaluation is his passion, and he can appreciate a great example of any style regardless of hype.

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