Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Session Beers now available from Brewers Publications

Image courtesy of Brewers Publications.

In her new book, Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance, author Jennifer Talley points out that session beers have been brewed for hundreds of years. In other words, session beers are not a trend. It may seem that way given the recent uptick in popularity of these types of beers, but even the term "session beer" pre-dates all of the modern mega beer madness. You know, back before the bugs, the barrels and all things high-ABV took hold of everyone's senses.

Of course, history lessons are just a jumping off point into a subject, not mention a beer type, that has much more depth than the "session beer" moniker might imply. Indeed, session beers aren't just about lower alcohol content. Things like bitterness, body, carbonation, finish and sweetness can also impact a beer's drinkability. It's up to the brewer to find the right balance of these and other factors in creating a beer that keeps you coming back for more.

And, Talley would know just how to do that, considering she spent over 20 years brewing in Utah, where state-imposed restrictions require beer to contain to less than 4% ABV. It's that experience Talley brings to bear in Session Beers, where she discusses not only the definition and design of session beers, but also how best to go about drinking them.

Naturally, there are an abundance of recipes as well (nearly half of the book is devoted to them), with breakdowns provided for both commercial (in the form of an outline) and five-gallon batches. Recipes appear for popular beers from the likes of Bell's, Firestone Walker, Stone and others. There's even one from Lone Star State, with guidelines given on how to make Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Ale.

The recurring theme throughout, though, centers on the idea that a session beer should be a beer that encourages extended enjoyment. Talley explains that such a thing is good for the consumer in that it allows for more time with friends, while also helping in the area of responsible drinking. Not surprisingly, the increased consumption is good for business owners as well, and Talley takes the time to show how offering session beers to patrons can be a boost to the bottom line.

Session Beers is published by Brewers Publications (pre-release copy provided for review). It is available now, exclusively to members of the Brewers Association and the American Homebrewers Association. Public sales of the book will begin on August 31.

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