Yes, of course you’re still drinking. Maybe not right now — or, maybe coffee right now — but today is just Day 2 of (at least) a four-day weekend, one bookended by gluttony and friends and football and friends, respectively.
All of which is to say that my beer-per-day average sees an incline of sorts over Thanksgiving weekend and straight through the holiday season. And while I might reach for the occasional out-there food beer at dinner or a gift-to-myself Thomas Hardy barleywine for dessert, I’m mostly eyeing up “session beers.” Session beers are any beers that are low in alcohol (usually 3-6% abv), and thus suitable prolonged consumption, i.e. “a session,” as coined by the ever-euphemistic Brits. Here’s what I’m looking for these days:
- Sly Fox Pikeland Pils – This perfect pilsner is just a tad hoppy compared to the classic Czechs and Germans, and wonderfully fresh when I’m home in the Philly suburbs for Thanksgiving. You can’t find it in D.C. yet, but Sly Fox is steadily growing and has a large presence all around Pennsylvania/New Jersey/New York, so look for it if you’re up the Eastern Seaboard for the holidays. Pennsylvania has a love affair with German brewing traditions, so in the D.C. area you can substitute this with Stoudt’s Pils or Victory Prima Pils.
- Magic Hat Howl – Magic Hat doesn’t make it into my fridge often, but this new winter seasonal is a light-bodied black lager full of roasty coffee flavors. It’s got less booze then your standard domestic (4.6% compared to 5%) and more flavor than a keg of fizzy yellow stuff, great for a dark beer lover’s long weekend.
- Ayinger Bräu-Weisse – Belgian wheat beers (or those in the style, like Allagash White) are common starting points for friends just getting into good beer. And when they ask for something new, I like to point them to German hefeweizens, the other classic wheat beer with crisper, cleaner flavors than the spicier, more flowery Belgians. Ayinger’s wheat beer is one of Germany’s best, with bright citrus notes and a creamy body of banana and vanilla.