Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sessionability, Belgian-Style.

Beer historian Martyn Cornell opines today on sessionability. A favorite topic of mine. Pointing as many people as possible toward that post, and toward Lew Bryson's Session Beer Project, is the goal today. The rest is just a photograph and some hope.

The photograph: Jandrain-Jandrenouille's delicious and subtle IV Saison, enjoyed on draft not too long ago at Moeder Lambic. Made to be highly drinkable, and it is, but yet — at 6.5% abv, in a 25 cl glass, and with a fairly high price tag — it's still a bit precious to be a real, all-night session beer. Not that I haven't given it the old college try.

The hope: that after a century in which the alcohol content of Belgian ales ramped generally upward — at first to warm a public whose gin had been banned, and then to battle for the "specialty beer" market scraps left by industrial lager brewers — we're seeing a growing number of craft beers of more useful strengths. Recent stars include Rulles Estivale (5.2%) and most of the Senne range (especially the Stouterik and Taras Boulba at an honestly sessionable 4.5%). Then there are old friends like Dupont's Biolégère a.k.a Avril (3.5%) and Bink Blond (5.5%).

More hope: that we could start seeing larger glasses with which to hold these quaffable beauties. Sorry, but these dainty 25 cl tulips just don't cut it for big, thirsty clods like me. Imperial pints would be fine but are unlikely on the continent. So, with a nod to Lew, I propose half-liter willibechers.

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