My Wall Street Journal story on session beers got a bit of flack from people arguing that “true” session beers must be less than 5.0% ABV. As evidence, they cited their own blog manifestos. The 5.0 argument is, at best, supported by a dubious CDC definition of a “standard beer” as 5.0% ABV, and at worst, totally arbitrary. There’s nothing standard about craft beer. The average ABV rating of all 30,000 beers on Beer Advocate is almost 6.0%. No brewer I’ve ever talked to designs so-called session beers with any such guidelines. If the brewers don’t care, why should you? Arguing that a delicious 5.1% beer can’t be called a session beer, but a 5.0% one can, is a waste of precious drinking time. And session beers, if they’re about anything, are about drinking.
wall street journal
June 28, 2011