Thursday, 5 April 2012

Session Beer

A rather amusing (to me at least, even if not deliberately so) rant about what defines a session beer on Ding's Beer Blog got me thinking about drinking habits.

For me the point about session beer is that it is pretty vague, it suggests a certain approach to a day enjoying the pleasure of beer rather than your day job which might well be worrying about fractions of percentages. I'll concede you might be a bit cross if you ask for a session beer in a pub and they want a tenner off you on producing a pint of some sort of triple imperial rocket fuel. In the end though it's a legal requirement to show the alcohol content of drinks served - and it's that you should be relying on rather than a bit of ethereal nomenclature - assuming you believe the label of course. If you can't work out that a 7% beer is going to get you more drunk if you throw multiple pints of it down your neck in a short space of time than a 3.7% beer would, you probably shouldn't be drinking at all. Similarly if a pub put up a list of 'session beers' on a chalk board that weighed in at six or seven percent they'd not exactly do their credibility much good but, rather like asking for a session beer without clarifying the abv first, I think that's pretty unlikely.

Beer. Friends. Session.
I'd suggest a session beer isn't simply defined by abv - some fruit beers in particular come in at a low strength, and are perfectly enjoyable, but I'd suggest even the more ardent fan wouldn't want to be drinking pint after pint of them.* By the same token, a drinking 'session' could consist of a bottle of Chimay while reading the Sunday papers or people watching from your seat outside a cafĂ©  - the beer taking the place of a glass or two of vino da tavola in another universe, presumably that European one that 24 hour licensing was supposed to transport us all to.

And now? The sun is trying to shine, and I think a beer and a session of quiet contemplation and conversation beckons. With the right approach any beer can be a session beer (to misquote Aleheads), if beer's just a route to getting hammered, none of them are.

* Yes, it's a generalisation and I'm sure there are exceptions!

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