While we may enjoy a good strong imperial stout from time to time, most of us can’t stomach sitting around and drinking glass after glass of the stuff. Session beers to the rescue! This sessionable drink has recently seen great growth and Session Beers: Brewing For Flavor and Balance by Jennifer Talley takes us on an exploration of easy-drinking brew.
While session beers have always existed, it’s only been within the past few years that we’ve really seen an explosion of the style. Jennifer Talley explores the history of some of the greatest sessionable brews, both past and present, along with the process of brewing them, why we’re enjoying them so much, and then plenty of recipes.
Jennifer has plenty experience brewing session beers, thanks to her time at Squatters Brewery in Utah. The book begins by defining session beers. A look at the originals in the British Isles, then Belgium, then Germany, Central Europe, and the US.
From there we explore what it takes to brew a great session beer. Experienced brewers and home brewers alike will find plenty of great information in this section. It looks at everything from water preparation, mashing, yeast, and much more. It’s a great technical reference for anyone looking to create a session brew.
We next move on to modern interpretations, starting with the modern American lager, exploring American brewing icons, and then the growth of the craft beer craze. We really see how each has had their own interpretations of session beer, and how it’s changed with the tastes of the drinking public.
Then we look at drinking and enjoyment of session beers. For those that don’t brew themselves, this may be the most informative part.
The first part of the book wraps up with a look at the cost of creating sessionable beers.
The second section of Session Beers: Brewing For Flavor and Balance is a collection of commercial recipes. Each also includes a homebrew version.
We start with North American recipes, move into German inspired (made by US brewers), and then international session brews (again, by US brewers).
Each recipe includes detailed ingredient lists and brewing notes, allowing anyone to try their hand at recreating commercial session brews. As explored in earlier chapters, it takes quite a bit of skill to brew to the high quality standards required create a great session beer. It’s one thing when you have 12% ABV and barrel-aging to cover up small flaws, but with these beers there’s nowhere for them to hide.
This book is a wonderful and detailed exploration of the balanced and highly-drinkable brews that have recently seen great growth across the craft segment. Author and brewer Jennifer Talley does a great job of covering everything from definition, history, commercial examples, enjoyment, and brewing session beers. It’s a wonderful read for those looking to brew their own, or just improve their knowledge.
Crank your session beer knowledge up to imperial levels with your own copy of Session Beers: Brewing For Flavor and Balance by Jennifer Talley on Amazon now.