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10 session spots

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Public House Brewing

Many North American breweries and bars occasionally offer beer choices at 4.5% or below; finding those with a year-round dedication to them is a greater challenge. Here, 10 places to go and gulp with abandon.

By Joe Stange

The flagship of this south St. Louis micro, located in the historic stables of the old Lemp brewery, is a flavorful, 4.4%-ABV Zoigl-style lager.

Oakridge, Ore. BREWER’S UNION LOCAL 180
Amid mountain-biking paradise, this British-inspired brewpub specializes in cask ales, including several below 4% strength.

Brooklyn, N.Y. THE DIAMOND 
One of the few bars we found with dedicated taps and bottles for beers below 4.5%.

Cambridge, Ontario GRAND RIVER BREWING
Dedicated to beers below 5% ABV, including the Galt Knife Old Style Lager at 4.4%.

Portland, Ore. HAIR OF THE DOG
In what might be a sign of the apocolypse, this brewery famed for its barleywines recently began releasing a Little Dog series of ales around 3.5% ABV.

Aside from Commercial Suicide, other year-round brews include the farmhouse ale Das Wunderkind at 4.2% strength. The hoppy wheat beer Drink’in the Sunbelt at 4% was a recent collaboration with Danish brewer Mikkeller.

Boston NOTCH 
Brewer Chris Lohring’s outfit launched with kegs of Session Ale at 4.5% and a Session Pils at 4%. At a recent event to release the beers in bottles, patrons were lined up out the door and around the corner.

This cask ale brewpub near Camden Yards has also been distributing its beers, many below 4.5%, to discriminating bars in the greater D.C. area.

Launched in December with an explicit dedication to session beers, including a 2.5% mild, and selling it faster than they can make it. Offering a Trough Special where drinking five beers of the same style gets you the sixth one free.

Philadelphia YARDS BREWING CO. 
Its year-round Brawler bitter and Philadelphia Pale Ale are 4.2% and 4.6%, respectively.


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