4 December, 2022, 11:25

Summer Is In Session (Beer)

Craft Beer Betty Selfie w/ Mother Road Kolsch, Gold Road

Last Saturday, I spent hours at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest inPaso Robles, California, eagerly waiting in long, snaking beer fest lines for world renowned breweries’ offerings of their biggest, boldest, and booziest brews. My excitement might have matched – or exceeded – that of a twelve-year old visiting Magic Mountain for the first time.

Every sip of beer fest sample delighted the taste buds.There may have been dancing involved. I didn’t quite stop smiling until… okay, I’m still smiling about it. Upon setting foot back in Tucson’s sizzling summer heat, however, I was reminded of why we tend to opt for summer seasonal and session beers. We drink session beers so we do not die.

BeerAdvocate.com attempts to define the term “session beer” as “any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability.”

This means that session beers enable you to enjoy a few without getting you wasted. Session beers are especially advantageous in triple digit temps when we’re much more sensitive to the sensation of warmth a little alcohol can provide.

Hensley Beverage Company Craft Specialist Mark Navarro describes this as the “wild roommate syndrome” when speaking about the trend of super hopped up, boozy brews.

“It’s like the wild roommate who’s fun for a while, but not when you want to go to sleep or pay the rent,” says Mark. “This time of year, folks want a lower ABV beer without loads of hops, and with a clean, crisp finish.”

Pueblo Vida Breakfast Stout (Credit: Pueblo Vida)

Pueblo Vida Breakfast Stout (Credit: Pueblo Vida)

Tucson has a great selection of sessionable, summer friendly Arizona brews on tap around town for your sipping, or swilling pleasure. Mother Road Brewing from Flagstaff offers up a crisp and clean Kolsch style ale with “Gold Road”, weighing in at a mere 4.3% ABV, available on tap and in bottles. Dragoon Brewing brews the English Dark Mild Ale, “Stronghold Session” year round, at 3.8% ABV, proving that session beers don’t have to be pale beers.

If your idea of a refreshing summer beverage is more cold brew than Kolsch, check out Pueblo Vida’s “Breakfast Stout” which takes advantage of Yellow Brick Coffee’s cold brew and features a 5% ABV. Weighing in at a slightly higher 5.2% ABV, Historic Brewing Company sells the refreshing “Undercover” Cucumber, cucumber basil lager.

Set aside those big, bold brews to cellar until the mercury drops below 100 and raise a glass with me to toast the lighter brews that make summers in Tucson much more livable. Hydration is essential. Choose wisely.

Craft Beer Betty, aka Sarah Ritchie, is a craft beer evangelist as co-founder of Tucson Girls Pint Out and board member of Craft Tucson. Find her on Twitter and Instagram as @craftbeerbetty.