Showing posts with label session beer day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label session beer day. Show all posts

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Session Beer Day

It's today!!!

Now, if you have followed Fuggled for any length of time more than say, three days, you'll know that I love my session beers. I love bitters, milds, desítky, dry Irish stouts, et al, the kinds of beers that are ideal for a long period of time I the pub with friends, playing pool, talking shit, and just hanging out, kind of like this pub from a Greene King ad:

Naturally then I fully support the Session Beer Project, and will find some session beer to drink today, whether that's Three Notch'd Bitter 42 (originally Session 42 but some people seem to think they can own the term 'session'), O'Hara's Red Ale at the Tin Whistle, one of the other handful of places round here that are guaranteed to have session beer available.

Session Beer Day is also the ideal pre-cursor to American Mild Month, which encourages breweries, drinkers, and homebrewers to celebrate a particular kind of session beer, mild ales, whether dark, pale, or 'American', for the entire month of May.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Caledonia Werks!

As I mentioned in last Friday's post, McGrady's Irish Pub in Charlottesville was planning to have a beer called Caledonia on tap for Session Beer Day. It was a beer that I had never had before, but from its description on the Williamsburg Alewerks website, I was eager to try it:
Caledonia is a session-able IPA featuring Styrian Goldings, Willamette, and Fuggle hops balanced with pale malt and crystal malts. ABV:4.5%
Once my Sunday shift at the Starr Hill tasting room was done and dusted, I headed over to to give it a bash. Expecting a friend to join me, I grabbed a booth rather than squeezing myself into the one spare seat at the bar, and promptly ordered. I think the server may have been a touch confused by my not wanting Samuel Adams Alpine Spring, which has been my go-to beer since February. Anyway, a few minutes later the beer was sat in front of me.

I have to admit I was expecting a slightly paler beer, what I got was an ever so slightly cloudy rich amber, like orange marmelade, though minus the thick cut peel that is my preference in the marmelade world. There was not much of a head, though given a quick swirl a half head white cap appeared. The hops in the beer are three of my favourites, so I had half an idea of what the aroma would be, but wasn't really expecting the sheer intensity of the Seville orange assault on my nostrils, back behind the oranges though was a touch of toastiness and a trace of light syrup...I was looking forward to the best bit about beer, drinking the damned stuff.

Such a delicious beer can only be described with one word, balance. Yes the hops are there, bitter, fruity, fragrant and tangy, but that is not all there is to the beer. The malt weighs in with juicy sweet sugars, more of the toasty theme and a soft toffee element which just dances with the hops and spins your head as it pirouettes round and round.

Is this stuff really only 4.5%??? Caledonia is an absolute dream of a beer, let alone a session beer, and one that my friend was equally impressed by, as was the owner of McGrady's - in fact I think it is the beer we have drunk more of this week than any other, and hopefully it will become a regular on tap.

I seem to have garnered a reputation with my friends for not being a fan of pale ales, I can't imagine where they get that idea from, but when done right, and Caledonia is done emphatically right, it is a real pleasure to down a few pints of pale.

Picture credit: taken from the Williamsburg Alewerks website.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Daily Liquid Bread

This Sunday is a special day. Well, at least it is for us drinkers of the world, for this Sunday is Session Beer Day. For those not aware of this most worthy day, it is a day to celebrate those beers which are, in my opinion, the best in the beer world, and often the most difficult to make. I am, of course, referring to session beers. Of the various drinking establishments in Charlottesville, I know for sure that will have a selection of session beers available this weekend.

Making a return appearance is 21st Amendment's Bitter American, which is 4.4% and boasts 42 IBUs of Warrior and Cascade. I have to admit that I was not a big fan of this beer when I first had it in cans, but on tap it was a rather moreish pint and definitely worth having several rounds of, which is kind of the point of session beers.

Closer the home, McGrady's will have Caledonia from Williamsburg Alewerks. The guys at Alewerks describe this as a 'Scottish Style IPA' and it weighs in at a thoroughly sessionable 4.5%. As a British style IPA, Caledonia uses Styrian Goldings, Willamette and Fuggles for its hopping, which makes be keen to try it as they are three of my favourite hop varieties.

Sneaking a little over the upper limit of session beer as espoused by the Session Beer Project, will be Founder's All Day IPA. As with the Bitter American, this beer has 42 IBUs of American hops and while it is just a touch on the strong side for a session beer, everything I have had from Founders before has been good, so I would expect nothing less here.

Again coming closer to home, and again a touch on the strong side, it is possible that McGrady's will have the Great Outdoors Pale Ale from Three Brothers Brewing, up in Harrisonburg. Great Outdoors is described as being a 'Virginia Pale Ale that is clean, crisp and refreshing'.

There are few better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than sat in the pub with mates enjoying a few well earned rounds before heading back to the daily grind, session beers like those available at McGrady's this weekend make that idyll almost complete..

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Day for Drinkers

I have a confession to make. I broke my 'no going to the pub on St Patrick's Day' rule last night. having had a fairly quiet shift at the Starr Hill tasting room, a colleague and I popped into McGrady's a quick pint - seriously, the shift was insanely quiet, apparently the lure of half price pints of America's most award winning dry stout was not strong enough. I have two main reasons for not darkening the door of a pub on March 17th each year, one of which I covered in this post, and the other being the pub is packed with people who rarely if ever go. St Patrick's Day, or International Amateur Drinkers Day as some refer to it, is like Midnight Mass for many people, the one time of the year when they actually attend.

Thankfully the beer drinking day for regular pub goers is just around the corner, because April 7th is Session Beer Day. I am sure most of you already know the definition of 'session' beer, as proposed by Lew Bryson and thoroughly approved of by me (I am sure Lew sleeps all the more soundly for knowing that), just in case though a session beer is:
  • 4.5% alcohol by volume or less
  • flavorful enough to be interesting
  • balanced enough for multiple pints
  • conducive to conversation
  • reasonably priced
Session beers are an essential part, in my unhumble opinion, of a good pub, given that pubs are places where people go to meet friends, talk, play pool, all over a few pints of something tasty. I guess this is one of the reasons I fail to understand the mindset of people who want 'more bang for their buck' and drink several pints of imperial IPA because it gets them drunk quicker. While beer is an intoxicant, I am not convinced that beer 'culture', and especially pub culture, is about getting trashed, it's about being social, and beer lubricates the sociability of the scene.

Anyway, last year both Beer Run and McGrady's here in Charlottesville had a decent selection of session beer, including Williams Brothers simply wonderful Scottish Session Ale, which I think I drank McGrady's out of last year. Hopefully this year will see more session beers on tap as well as more pubs having something available. Although this ad is for whisky, I love one line in particular.....'all hail to drinking man!' (or woman, obviously, yes thank you Stan)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Session Beer Every Day Please!

I had a very nice Session Beer Day, or at least a very nice Session Beer Afternoon. I spent it propping up the bar of McGrady's Irish Pub, drinking Williams Brothers Scottish Session Ale and chatting with mates. That's what going to the pub is really all about. We didn't avail ourselves of the pool table, this time, though I will admit to chucking a couple of songs on the jukebox, all the while wishing they had more Rammstein, Smiths and Smashing Pumpkins options - sometimes though T.a.T.u. hits the spot even it is was in English rather than Russian.

The only dark cloud on an otherwise golden afternoon was the sinking feeling that once the session beers have run out they will again be few and far between until the next Session Beer Day. Before you know it, the taps will again be flowing with over strong, over hopped pale ales, with only Guinness available for the rest of us.

I don't want to sound like a grumbly malcontent, but having a choice of flavourful session beers on tap should not be a once a year thing. If every pub in Charlottesville were to ditch Guinness and replace it with Starr Hill's Dark Starr Stout, which is 4.2% and has won more awards than any other dry stout in the US, it would be a major step forward.

Yes there are more brewers making session beers, so pubs it is your turn to start selling them on draft more often.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Session Beer Day Update

If you read the solitary comment to Wednesday's "Get Your Session On!" post, you will know that here in Charlottesville currently has the following sub 5% abv beers available:
  • Guinness Draught (4.3%)
  • Allagash White Ale (5.0%)
  • Smithwick's Ale (4.5%)
  • Harp Lager (5.0%)
  • Starr Hill Dark Starr Stout (4.2%)
  • Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat (4.2%)
  • Devils' Backbone Vienna Lager (4.9%)
After taking up Scott on his offer to email with suggestions, I am happy to say that McGrady's will have the following beers on tap in time for Session Beer Day next Saturday:
In my continuing efforts to see more Williams Brothers beer from Scotland on the taps of Charlottesville, I mentioned to Scott that they do a couple of session beers, mainly Scottish Session at 3.9% and the Scottish Heavy, known at home as the 80/-, which is 4.2%. Also Joker IPA is a phenomenal beer and at 5% isn't quite a session beer, but is a gorgeous beer that I am happy to drink a few pints of.

Scott also mentioned that session beers will be on special that day and there will be live music from 8 to 11, so get along and get your session on!

Hopefully I'll have an update on Beer Run's Session Beer Day offerings at some point, and if anyone knows any other pubs in Charlottesville or the area doing something special to promote session beer, let me know!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Get Your Session On!

I love session beers.

Sure, I have written about it before, but I don't think the situation can be over stated. Session beers are, in my consistently unhumble opinion, the best kind of beers to drink. When everything is said and done, I guess I am really just a guy who likes going to the pub and drinking flavourful, low-alcohol beer whilst chatting with my mates, shooting some pool and generally having a laugh. I have even stopped taking a camera and paper notebook with me and my social life has improved immensely as a result.

I really don't care that much whether the upper limit for a session beer should be 4% or 4.5% , mainly because in the US drinking only sub 4% beers would essentially make you the designated driver because there is bugger all to drink at the level. Admittedly one of my beers of choice lately is only 3.9%, the magnificent Scottish Session from Williams Brothers in Alloa, but I have only seen it in bottles so far.

As you can imagine then, I think Session Beer Day on April 7th is a fantastic idea and hopefully the pubs of Charlottesville will have something in the sub 4.5% range available to drink (assuming of course I am not working in the Starr Hill tasting room that day, in which case I will fill a growler with their 4.2% Dark Starr Stout, and perhaps re-run my glassware experiment).

The pubs I usually go to these days are Beer Run and , an "Irish" pub with a decent enough beer selection, a pool table and a proper pub atmosphere. Hopefully we'll see some session beers on at both places in time for Session Beer Day, and going forward I would love to see at least 1 tap at each place permanently given over to beers people can drink plenty of.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...