April 7 marks an important historical event for beer drinkers: Little Repeal Day, when, in 1933, after 13 long years of Prohibition, beer of 4% alcohol by volume (ABV) or less became legal again. (Full repeal occurred eight months later, on December 5, 1933.) Since 2012, the day has become known among certain enthusiasts as Session Beer Day -- a holiday to celebrate and promote tasty, low-alcohol brews.
That doesn't mean light beers, though. Sessions are not a lesser version of something else, they're beers in their own right, with a low alcohol level conducive to a prolonged drinking session (hence the name). Lew Bryson, drinks writer and founder of the Session Beer Project, defines the term using loose but important criteria: 4.5% or lower ABV, with enough flavor and balance to keep you interested over multiple pints. "I just want a beer that's not going to interrupt the conversation," he says. It should be "low-alcohol, but not low-taste."More »