Posted by

Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

edge contributor


Three Pint Stance - Beer, weak

Rate this item
(0 votes)

As you may have heard, Greater Bangor Beer Week is right around the corner (or currently happening, depending on when you read this). I was going to write a column about the many events planned all over the Greater Bangor region throughout the week, but Allen decided to pull rank and write about it for the cover story. Whatever. I get it.

(Editor's note: Deal with it.)

Since I can't write about Beer Week, I'll shift my focus to 'beer, weak.' Low-alcohol beers, or super session ales, have become a bit of a thing of late. Bucking the late 90s/early 00s trend of complex, intense, high-alcohol brews, customers have been looking for a less aggressive beer to quench their thirst.

Let's take a moment and define some terms. A 'session beer' is any beer that is made with five percent or less alcohol by volume. The name derives from the fact that due to the lower alcohol, you can drink multiple beers in one sitting, or session. Session ales and Session IPAs have been popping up left and right these days, and some breweries specialize in the session style (see Notch Brewing out of Massachusetts). I've covered session beers before in these pages, but today we're going deeper.

There are a few beers out there that occupy a very unique space between non-alcoholic beer and session ale. Some call them super session beers, others just call them silly. I think they are an interesting concept and a good excuse to drink eight of something to see how it works out!

One widely-available example would be Evil Twin's Bikini Beer. Clocking in at 2.7 percent ABV, Bikini Beer won't get you where you are going very fast, but can be quite an enjoyable sipper for that all-day family barbecue.

Now, a beer with 2.7 percent alcohol can be hard to balance due to the fact that there isn't much malt in a recipe that only yields that low an ABV. This can lead to a watery mouthfeel and a sharper bitterness as there is less sugar to balance out the battering hops. Bikini Beer does a nice job avoiding those things, but with any low ABV beer, you are likely going to be left wanting more.

A local example of the low ABV style is Bissell Brothers Diavaletto. A three-percent super session ale, this beer is much more successful in avoiding the thin mouthfeel issue. By adding wheat and flaked oats to the mash, Bissell Brothers is able to introduce a bit more body into this brew than you would expect. The citrusy hops add a refreshing finish that leads you into your next sip. This beer is highly quaffable, and a four-pack disappears much faster than you want it to.

So, whether you don't want to feel the buzz or you are watching your waistline, you should reach for a super-low ABV beer. All the beer flavor, none of the beer drunkenness!


The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine