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Food & Beverages March, 23 2012

Buyer’s Guide | 10 Smart Session Beers

While super hoppy (and boozy) IPAs and a smattering of other strong, flavorful beers are exceedingly popular with craft beer brewers and drinkers, we are finding ourselves drawn to less potent brews as the weather warms. These are called “session” beers, with the thinking being that you can enjoy a succession of them without putting yourself under a blanket for four hours.

After the jump, have a look at our top ten session beers, great for sporting and choring without the snoring (wokka wokka).

Samurai Rice Ale – Great Divide Brewing Company

Awesome name; crisp and flavorful; made with rice; gluten free. You can definitely feel yourself becoming more austere and contemplative as these go down. 5.2-percent abv.

Session Lager – Full Sail Brewing Company

Anyone who grew up drinking 11oz grenades of Olympia—the ones with the rebus puzzles under the cap—will be happy holding one of these. Session Lager is light but full bodied and brings you and a pal a game of roshambo with a rock, paper, or scissors printed under the cap. 5.1-percent abv.

Sankaty Light Lager – Cisco Brewing

This light American style lager has a mellow pop of hop and is named for a famous lighthouse [that we might try to scale the face of after a sixer] depicted on the can. 3.8-percent abv.

Cascade Ale – Dechutes Brewing

This light and lovely ale is no doubt exceedingly popular in Bend, Ore. where Deschutes is headquartered—a city renowned for its ample outdoor awesomeness. 4.5-percent abv.

Samuel Adams Belgian Session – The Boston Beer Company

“[Made with] Belgian yeast that imparts a floral and spicy clove character that comes through in the aroma, flavor, and finish of the beer.” We will take Jim Koch and company’s word on that, as we haven’t tried this one. Part of their summer variety 12-pack, sounds like you’d have to do some stockpiling to have a real session with this one. 4.25-percent abv.

American Bitter Session Ale – 21st Amendment Brewery

Boasting solid malt and hop flavors, this extra pale session ale comes in a sweet-looking can. 4.4-percent abv.

Greene King IPA – Green King Brewery

The idea of a session beer was more-or-less born in English pubs and this English IPA challenges the common notion that something hoppy must also be potent. As this rather dippy commercial for the stuff suggests, it is good to stay on your toes. 3.6-percent abv.

Oarsman Ale – Bell’s Brewery

All of Bell’s beers are incredibly delicious, but this tart, crispy delight comes with the suggestion that you can drink at least a few of them and still row a boat. 4-percent abv.

Black Label – Carling

We are putting this one on here mostly because it was the session beer of our youth (due in large part to its $8-per-case price tag). It is genuinely chilling to think how much of this stuff has passed through our systems. Definitely remember it having more flavor than Budweiser, and, what do you know, it started its life a rice beer. 4-percent abv.

Bud Light – Anheuser-Busch

We are not huge fans of Bud Light, but we have to give it a tip of the cap for being one of the most session-ready beers on the market. Plus we have talked to more than one craft brewer who has said that Bud Light is an incredibly impressive creation due to the staggering difficulty involved in brewing such massive quantities of a beer that consistently tastes like nothing. 4.2-percent abv.

Highsnobiety