You’ve likely heard the name “Session IPA” before, but what does “session” mean? Session beers are a growing trend in craft beers as consumers often prefer these selections for their drinkability. The name doesn’t refer to a specific color or flavor, and the origin of the term is another excellent piece of trivia.
The History of Session Beer
The story is that the history of session beers dates back to Europe in World War I. During the war, England’s rulers implemented British laws to reduce the hours local pubs could operate. English workers who were accustomed to drinking while on a break from the job could only frequent the bar during two sessions–a couple of hours in midday and a few in the evening. To optimize the reduced timeframe, the workers sought out lower alcohol content beers so they could drink more in the limited hours and return to work without being drunk. It’s also likely that lower alcohol beers were more prevalent during this time because war rations limited the ingredients needed to make a higher content brew.
Why are session beers popular now?
Many of today’s beer drinkers prefer to relax and enjoy several beers during one sitting or “session.”. Whether out at a tailgate party or kicking back with buddies after work, the ability to have several glasses of beer without feeling “wasted” is important to many people. Craft beers increased this desire as the variety of flavors and styles allow drinkers to try different beers and discover new favorites. For example, those that visit their favorite taphouse like The Growler Guys have the opportunity to explore many different beers from local breweries.
What makes a beer a session beer?
While there’s no defined rule, most agree that a session beer has an ABV of less than 5%. Some will go up to 6%, while others claim the highest alcohol content is 4.5%. However, many people feel a significant difference between 5 and 6% regarding the impact of alcohol on the body.
A lower ABV doesn’t mean the beer lacks flavor, though. Craft brewers are skilled with including hops to give the best session beers maximum flavor while keeping the ABV under the threshold. Any beer style can be produced at a lower strength and awarded the session title, but the most popular by far is the Session IPA.
The Growler Guys is your one-stop destination to try beers of every style.
Explore the growing variety of beers in one taproom, The Growler Guys. Each of our locations carries the best local varieties, from the palest ales to the darkest stouts, along with ciders and kombucha. Our friendly staff is happy to walk you through the characteristics of every style to help you discover your personal favorites. Take home the beers you love best in a growler to share with family and friends. View our online tap list to learn about the selections currently available at a location near you!