Jason Wilson in The Smart Set:
I love a good argument. I particularly love a good argument about drinks. And I especially love a good drinks argument in which manifestos are published. This is why — whether we're talking about wine, spirits or beer — it's endlessly amusing to bring up the topic of alcohol content.
In wine, there are supporters of high-alcohol fruit bombs versus sommeliers who refuse to put any wine over 14 percent on their lists. In spirits, it's the opposite: Many craft bartenders thumb their noses at whiskey that falls below 100 proof. And in beer, there's the perennial issue of the session beer.
Session beers are low-alcohol, high-flavor, easy-drinking, reasonably priced beers that one might drink all night long and still be able to walk home without doing something stupid. Essentially, a session beer is the opposite of the 8 to 12 percent hop/sour/funk monsters that so many beer geeks love.
The idea of finding a really good session beer occurred to me when I was at my local bar, a place with two dozen craft beers on tap. I noticed that more than half the bar was drinking bottles of Miller Lite (4.17 percent alcohol by volume) or Bud Light (4.2 percent). This, while right at their disposal was everything from Maudite (8 percent) to Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA (9 percent) to Scaldis Bush de Noel (12 percent) to even my own current session beer, Victory Prima Pils (5.3 percent).
I asked one of the guys — a tough-looking dude with a chinstrap beard and lots of tattoos — why he wasn't drinking any of the great beers on tap. He glared at me. “I'm gonna drink for, like, the next five hours. Do you want to see what happens when I drink more than one of those?”