As it starts to warm up, many of us find ourselves looking for more session beers in Austin. While there is no exact definition for what a session beer is, it is commonly referred to as a beer with an ABV of 5.0% or less. These make great beers to take along to the river or pool. The number of sessionable beers on the market has greatly increased over the last couple of years. Most of these are local options are available in six packs, and are mostly in cans.
I will start off with the obvious choice. Oasis, Texas Brewing Company. All of their yearly releases fall into the sessionable beer category (well, minus Lake Monster). Their whole focus is on great, lower ABV beers. Their newest offering, Meta Modern (4.5%), is an absolutely delicious example of a Session IPA. You will see this, along with Slow Ride Pale Ale (4.8%), London Homesick Ale (4.9), and Luchesa Lager (4.8%).
A new release by Independence Brewing, RedBud, is a new seasonal Berliner Weisse that comes in at 4.2% ABV. It will be available in most of their markets in cans and kegs until September. It is based off a traditional German style that is light and tart. Live Oak is also releasing their first Berliner Weisse this month, as well, but it will only be on tap for a couple of months.
Real Ale Brewing is also putting out a sessionable seasonal in their Gose. Gose is a style from Northern Germany that is a slightly sour wheat ale. It often has flavors of coriander and a slight saltiness to it. Real Ale added some hints of lime to theirs. This one will be released in cans again this year, likely at the end of May or early June, and comes in at 4.4% ABV. Along with this style, a newcomer to Texas from Illinois, Destihl, has released their canned Here Gose Nothin’ from their Wild Sour series.
Blue Owl Brewing was supposed to open a couple months back. But, due to city permitting issues, they have still yet to open their doors. However, their is hope on the way. They “should” be opening in the near future. Most of their lineup comes in between the 5-6% ABV, however, their Little Boss Sour Session Wheat will be at 3.54%. I am guessing that we should see them on the shelves over summer.
Another local brewery, Circle, features mostly beers that are in the sessionable range as well. If you want a bourbon barrel aged beer, their Devil’s Envy even comes in at 4.8%, and is still available at certain stores in 4 packs. Along with this, their Blur Hefeweizen (4.7%), Envy Amber (4.8%) and Hop Overboard Pale Ale (4.7%) are available in bottles year round in six packs.
Lakewood, in Dallas, recently released Hopochondriac Session IPA. At 3.5%, this may be the lowest ABV IPA that I have seen. It likely will be showing up at some select Austin stores around town. However, it is not normally distributed to Austin, so it may be harder to come by. Houston’s Karbach makes Love Street Kolsch that clocks in at 4.25% and is widely available in the Austin market.
Along with the Texas offerings, many larger national craft breweries are jumping into the session IPA scene. Some examples of these are Founder’s All Day IPA, Stone Go To IPA, Lagunitas Daytime IPA, and New Belgium Session IPA.
I am sure that I missed many great offerings of Session Beer in Austin along with these. Needless to say, there are many great beers out there to help us lead up to summertime.