While the term “session beer” as a style description has only been around since the 1980s, many classic beer styles, like Pilsner, Kölsch, cream ale, and English mild and bitter, to name a few, have been a crucial part of “session” culture for beer drinkers for centuries. In more recent years, many craft brewers in America have begun producing additional low-alcohol drinks, providing sessionable examples of customarily strong beers. Nowadays, the craft beer market has many notable examples of “session IPAs” and moderate-strength pale ales and stouts, and even rare styles like Gose are now part of mainstream craft offerings. These cover a wide range in terms of malt balance and hoppiness, and their moderate strength requires high brewing standards to achieve balance and drinkability.
In Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance, author Jennifer Talley takes an overview of the history behind some of the world’s greatest session beers, past and present. Talley weaves societal, political, and brewing trends into her narrative, and stresses the importance of beer in society as well as offering guidance on how brewers can encourage responsible drinking in their patrons. She addresses brewing processes and ingredients to help brewers master recipe development when crafting high-quality but easy-drinking beers. The final section contains 25 recipes curated by the author. These recipes are for popular craft session beers taken straight from the mouths of some of the best brewmasters in America, complete with a brief history of the breweries and brewers involved. Open up this book and disover why beer drinkers say “I’ll have another” to session beers, and be inspired to brew some of your own.