Beer Trends: The Rise of Session Beers
This is a sponsored post for Sesh Fest 2017 taking place Saturday, August 5.
In its simplest form, beer is still best consumed cold, and easily, in substantial portions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to sign up for a 14% bourbon barrel-aged Mexican chocolate spiced stout, or a tart barrel-aged wild, but do you think medieval knights and Belgian farmhands were crushing big boozy beers before going into battle or tending the fields? There’s a place and time for all styles of beer, and as cyclical as history seems to be, the historical relevance of easy drinking sessionable beers has once again swung back in style.
While the general beer drinking populace has begun evolving past the watered-down swill being marketed as the King of Beers, there’s still something to be said for a cold, easy drinking, no-frills beer after a long day of work.
Enter the rise of session beers. By definition, session beers generally serve as a broad catchall definition for any beer below 5% alcohol by volume. That said a session beer can range in specific style from the more recently popular session IPA to Berliner weiss, Vienna lager, pilsner, kolsch, even Irish dry stouts, and many more. Think of session beers as something approachable and easy drinking enough to quench your thirst after mowing the lawn, or something you’d like to pair with grilling out on a hot summer day.
In recent years, craft beer fans have experienced trends rise and fall in popularity ranging from IPA’s to big barrel-aged stouts, sours and now sessions. According to a study conducted last year through a Nielsen CGA survey, 45 percent of craft drinkers who responded said they want to drink “sessionable beers” that were less than 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
The aforementioned session IPA style has grown so rapidly in popularity that Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewing now dedicates 75% of their production to their All Day IPA brand, which was only first introduced in 2014. However no brewery is more committed to the Session movement, than Salem, MA’s Notch Brewing, which focuses solely on brewing session beers. Brewing anything from a Saison to a Pale Ale, a Czech Pale Lager to and Oak Smoked Polish Wheat Beer, Notch’s entire line up falls under 4.5% ABV.
Fans of these easy drinking sessions will once again convene this weekend at Denver’s Sesh Fest, a beer festival devoted to all things on the lighter side. Now in its 4th year, Sesh Fest 2017 taking place on August 5th at 3 p.m. at Denver’s Highlands Masonic Event Center, will feature over 50 beers weighing in under 5%. This year’s festival also incorporates lawn games, music, food trucks, and popsicles to perfectly capture the adult park day experience, with proceeds benefitting The Colorado Brewers Guild.
Tickets are currently available and include packages of single tickets, 4-pack tickets, 6-pack, and even 12 person packages that ring in at only $24 a person and includes early entry as well as commemorative schwag.