Session Beer Day is April 7, but do you know where your low-alcohol beer is?

Categories: Beer Man

SessionBeerProject.jpg
In late 2010, after a few years of fighting between convenience and grocery stores, bottle shops and beer makers, the State of Colorado discovered -- much to its chagrin -- that it was illegal for restaurants and liquor stores to sell low-alcohol beer. That's right, citizens: Colorado was trying to get you hammered.

In 2011, the legislature drafted a bill that would once again allow restaurants and liquor stores to sell beer that was 4 percent alcohol by volume or less. Governor John Hickenlooper, a beer drinker himself, signed that bill at an Old Chicago in Lakewood.

While it's now legal to sell low-alcohol beer, not many of the state's craft brewers make anything less than about 5 percent ABV, and none that I could find make a beer that is 4 percent or lower. (If you know of one, spill it in the comments section below.)

Which may be a problem on Saturday, when an online group of beer aficionados known as the Session Beer Project (tagline: Thanks, I'll have another!) hosts Session Beer Day, a day that highlights beers under 4 percent. Here's how they describe it:

April 7th 1933 was the day Prohibition ended for beer drinkers, and America celebrated happily with oceans of beer...all of it 4% and less. AND THEY LOVED IT!

That's a perfect day to celebrate session beer, great-tasting craft-type beer at lower alcohol that you can enjoy in quaffing volumes. Session beer is about enjoying beer for what it brings: great conversation with friends old and new, the glow of "social lubrication," and great taste without walloping doses of alcohol so you can enjoy yourself without getting knee-walking stupid drunk. Keep it under 4.5% (or 4.0%, if you want to be historical), and make it a session.

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The Colorado craft beer with the lowest ABV I found was Cinco, a Mexican-style lager from Denver's Del Norte Brewing. It comes in at 4.1 to 4.2 percent ABV.

Pateros Brewing in Fort Collins doesn't package its beers, but it's gotten on board the Session Beer Day bandwagon; the brewery posted a note on the Session Beer Project website supporting the concept and mentioning its 3.1 percent Remittance Ale.

Of course, you can always celebrate the day by drinking a big old Colorado-style 8 percent beer. Just drink half of it.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan
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12 comments
homes for sale ft collins
homes for sale ft collins

To get that oil, the industry has to use a method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Drilling companies inject sand and up to 5 million gallons of water and chemicals deep into the ground to fracture the rock below and stimulate the flow of oil and natural gas.

bizzygeek
bizzygeek

Plus one for the Minnow @ Dry Dock. I love that beer!

MustLoveBeer
MustLoveBeer

Someone needs to come out and say where sessionability ends... 4%, 5%, GABF lists in its style guidelines for Session Beer that they should not exceed 5.1% Going with GABF's guidelines any of these will fit in - Avery Joe's Pilsner 4.7% ABV, Breckenridge Agave Wheat 4.2% ABV, Bristol Mass Transit 5% ABV, Crabtree berliner Weisse 4.3% ABV, Dry Dock Hefeweizen 4.2% ABV, Great Divide Samurai 5.1% ABV, Left Hand Stranger 5% ABV, New Belgium Shift 5% ABV, Odell Easy Street Wheat 4.6% ABV, Ska Mexican Logger 4.2% ABV, Upslope Craft Lager 4.8% ABV, Twisted Pine Billy's Chilies Beer 5% ABV, Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier Pilsner 5.1% ABV, Odell Levity Amber Ale 5.0% ABV, Wynkoop B3K Black Lager 5.1% ABV.

Jayhawkjones
Jayhawkjones

Pateros Creek Brewing Company in Fort Collins, mentioned above, actually specializes in session beers. Almost everything on tap there is under 4.5%.

ericmsteen
ericmsteen

Yak and Yeti makes a mild at 3.7%

Jon S
Jon S

Dry Dock's SS Minnow is a seasonal, but is listed at 3.3% ABV. \

I also think that the Irish stout at Pints Pub is listed at exactly 4.0%. Pints is actually a great place for session beers even if some are slightly above the 4.5% cutoff, most are 5% ABV or less.

SanguinePenguin
SanguinePenguin

I wish there was a Colorado brewery that specialized in well-crafted session beers. My friend, Sydney, worked with Notch Brewing in Massachusetts and they seem to be quite successful! While I do enjoy the big beers, it'd be nice to session something other than Olympia.  

jonathan_shikes
jonathan_shikes

 Thanks for the tips guys. Someone also mentioned Great Divide's Zwickel.

jonathan_shikes
jonathan_shikes

 Maybe Session Beer Day will be a call to action for someone!

Pateros Creek Brew
Pateros Creek Brew

Jonathan and Sanguine, Pateros Creek's (Fort Collins, CO) mantra is for easy drinking session style ales and lagers. We do some other styles as well but many of our beers are 5% and lower. There has never been much of a definition of session and so we had defined as the 5% range. I would not say that we got on the bandwagon either as we have been brewing this way since inception. Cheers to small beers!

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