Today, twitter is all a flutter with posts commenting on Session Beer Month promoted by @sessionbeermay and using #sessionbeer to encourage craft beer drinkers to indulge in smaller beers instead of the heavy alcohol bombs that seem to be dominating the industry these days.
I applaud any effort to encourage an appreciation for small beers. While I enjoy big beers, especially big Belgian Triples, Imperial IPAs and Imperial Stouts, these beers are hard to enjoy in anything but moderation. Spending an evening out while drinking these beers means drinking maybe three pints before one has hit their limit. If I'm out enjoying the company of friends and family at my local, I want small beers that I can enjoy without worry that I'll have difficulty walking away from my table. I'm not calling for boring yellow fizzy beer. I think there is a market for beers like traditional milds and bitters, small Scottish 60/ or 70/, small saisons and farmhouse ales, and browns, porters and traditional dry stouts to name a few. American Craft Brewers have mastered the art of big beer and what they produce is nearly always fantastic. But, bigger doesn't always mean better. Small beers should be attractive to brewers, challenging them to create tasty and complex beers without relying on the crutch of huge malt bills and pounds of hops that often cover flaws in a beer's production. They should also be a welcome distraction to craft beer drinkers. Sitting down to a bar -- or attending festival -- where small beers are being served, the consumer can still get all the flavors found in the bigger beers, but with the added benefit of drinking a wider variety. Additionally small beers don't produce the problem of palate fatigue that one can experience when drinking through double IPAs, Imperial IPAs and other "extreme beers." It's time that we in the craft beer community move away from the "bigger is better," attitude that has dominated the industry and quench the creative drive and the consumers thirst with smaller but interesting beer.