The so-called session IPA is one of my favorite new styles, but the session beer movement as a whole is pretty encouraging—from Drake’s hoppy Alpha Session (3.8%) to Stillwater’s Brett-spiked Premium Ale (4.5%). Regardless of style, the best session beers are crisp and refreshing, but still make the taste buds do some heavy lifting.
Two beers from Deschutes and Bell’s have climbed the list of my favorite low-ABV sippers, and they couldn’t be more different. Deschutes River Ale, the new year-round offering from the Oregon brewery, is an extremely quaffable 4.0% ABV blonde ale that bursts with floral, citrusy hop notes. Its bitter snap cuts through a wash of bready malts for a nicely balanced swallow. Bell’s Oarsman Ale, on the other hand, isn’t new to the market, but it is to me. As a variation of the classic Berliner weisse style, this 4.0%-ABV wheat beer’s got a tart, mouthwatering finish; it creeps up at the end of each perky sip. It’s my new favorite post-workout beer, but I’d just as happily tip back a River Ale as well.
What’s your favorite session beer?