Sunshine, Spring and Session Beer

What lovely weather. A shame, like millions out there tied to the grim reality of office life, that I’ve spent most of it behind a desk breathing recirculated air and dreaming of a cold, light beer.

That’s right; I’m talking Session beer. Pale Ales, thirst-quenchers. Maybe the odd Wheat beer thrown in. On the whole, however, I’m rushing home for a fridge-cold sub 5% Pale ale, or praying that my pub of choice isn’t stocking 4 or 5 Imperial Stouts.

And why not? We do them so damn well. When asked what he admires about British Brewing a couple of weeks ago, Brooklyn’s Eric Ottaway – without a moment’s pause – smiled and replied: ‘That you can get so much flavour out of a 3-4.5% beer’. We know that the Americans generally don’t think in the same terms as us when it comes to session, and that’s all fine, but I know what I’d miss if I emigrated over there. Seriously.

As Pete Brown pointed out in this wonderful little piece, our problem with the sessioners is that we assume them to be dull. There’s so much out there to distract us; so much white noise out there and ‘next big thing’ turning our head, it’s likely that we disregard the familiar for the exotic.

We fall back into the pattern when the sun’s out – or I do, anyway.  This week I’ve been rediscovering the simple beauty of the likes of York’s First Light (a 3.8% favourite from last summer, as it happens), Saltaire’s snappy, crisp superlative Cascade Pale Ale (4.8%) , and Black Sheep’s All Creatures (3.5%abv). Durham’s Magus (3.8%) and Kirkstall’s Three Swords (4.5%) have all been go-to’s for me recently, as well. Dull? Never.


Want something more exotic, more internationally-influenced? Hawkshead NZPA? Camden Pale? Magic Rock High Wire? Fyne Ales Jarl? Buxton Moor Top? Christ, the list goes on. Tasty, refreshing, and of strength enough for a couple to be more than warranted. In fact  – try and stop me having more than one Moor Top (those that know me know my love for Moor Top runs deep and wild)!

So come on, Spring. Show us what you’ve got. You too, Summer. Bring on your hottest. We have the beers to cope, rest assured.



About leighgoodstuff

Blog: I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 28/03/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Tandleman is seriously on to something when he talks about beer as a *drink*, designed to quench a thirst as well as taste nice. No-one thinks about whisky or sherry when they need the bite at the back of a dry throat on a hot day (do they?), and I think of some bigger beers the same way.

  2. Marble Pint, Thornbridge Wild Swan, Moor Northern Star, Red Will Headless, Roosters Yankee, Elland Beyond the Pale, Ridgeside Desert Aire… and ANYTHING from Ilkley. nuff said 😉

  3. Yes exactly. I am convinced that the truly great brewers, as opposed to the trumpet blowing noise makers, are the ones that can brew consistently flavourful session beers. More of them please is what I say.

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