8 Great Grocery Store ‘Session Beers,’ Power Ranked

Source: UPROXX
Published and curated from UPROXX Read More

When fall turns to winter and the holidays begin, it’s natural to have the urge to drink mostly barrel-aged stouts and other higher-ABV beers. Either you’ve been saving some in your cellar or you splurged and bought the latest Bourbon County Stout. We get it. Wintry, bold, boozy, spicy, and dessert-forward flavors really hit nicely right now. But 18% ABV indulgent stouts, ales, and the like take their toll.

That’s where session beers come in.

The phrase “session” means that these beers are meant to be enjoyed during a “session” of beer drinking, often with your crew. They are lower in alcohol than most beers — always at or well below 5% ABV — so that you can feel better about drinking more than one during the aforementioned “session.” They’re much lighter — both in body and alcohol content — than the heavy winter brews and barrel-aged decadence you see a ton of right now.

The best part?

There are myriad session beers readily available at most beer stores, grocery stores, and anywhere that sells beer where you live. And while there are many, there are a few popular choices that seem to be more prominent than others. We picked eight of these classic beers and ranked them based on flavor and overall quality. Keep scrolling to see how everything turned out.

8) Shiner Bock

Shiner Bock
Shiner Bock

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

First brewed in 1913, this 4.4% ABV sessionable bock is surprisingly flavorful for having such a low alcohol content. Brewed with roasted barley and German hops, this year-round lager is perfect any time of the year.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is fairly light with roasted malts, toffee, floral and piney hops but there’s not too much else here. The palate is very sweet and malty with more caramel, brown bread, toasted malts, and light hops. The finish is very sweet.

Bottom Line:

Shiner Bock is exactly as it seems. Overall, it’s a decent sipper, but nothing too exciting. It’s low in alcohol and equally low in flavor. Don’t get it twisted — it’s a decent beer if you don’t need over-the-top aromas and flavors.

7) Founders All Day IPA

Founders All Day IPA
Founders

ABV: 4.7%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

One of the most well-known session beers on the market, Founders All Day IPA is also the most aptly named beers ever made. At 4.7%, this piney, citrusy IPA is definitely the type of beer you could feel comfortable drinking all day.

Tasting Notes:

Citrus is the name of the game with this beer’s nose. There are notes of ripe tangerine, grapefruit, lemon zest, and more. There’s also a nice floral, herbal pine element. The palate continues this trend with more grapefruit, orange peel, tropical fruits, and lightly bitter, piney hopes making an appearance. The only downfall is that everything is a little light and watery.

Bottom Line:

It should come as no surprise that a beer with such a low alcohol content would suffer from feeling a little watery. Unfortunately, none of the flavors fully hit their stride because of this.

6) Full Sail Session

Full Sail Session
Full Sail

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $9.50 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This 5% year-round beer is known for its mix of American and European hops, 2-Row barley, Pilsner malt, and house yeast strain. The result is a crisp, easy-drinking, highly memorable session lager that has gained countless fans over the years.

Tasting Notes:

Caramel malts, freshly baked bread, wet grass, cereal grains, light citrus, and floral hops are found on the nose. The palate is all cereal grains, toffee, bready malts, and floral, herbal hops. It’s all fairly light. But this is a crisp, totally crushable beer if you’re into that sort of thing.

Bottom Line:

There’s a nice mix of sweet malts and bright hops, but overall this is simply a crushable, refreshing beer and that’s about it.

5) 21st Amendment Down to Earth

21st Amendment Down to Earth
21st Amendment

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This popular session IPA gets its flavor from Golden Promise, Munich, Cara-Malt, and Crystal malts. It’s hopped with Cascade and Mosaic hops for flavoring. Dry hopped with Centennial and Mosiac and even has Warrior hops added for bitterness folded into a surprisingly sessionable 4.4% ABV.

Tasting Notes:

The nose starts with brown bread and toffee and moves on to tangerine, caramelized pineapple, and floral hops. Tasting it reveals more orange zest, grapefruit, and tropical fruits as well as bready malts and light caramel. The finish is semisweet, dry, and memorable.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to sessionable IPAs, 21st Amendment Down to Earth managed to add such a massive amount of hops that this beer’s low alcohol content doesn’t make it taste even the least bit watered down.

4) Odell Good Behavior

Odell Good Behavior
Odell

ABV: 4%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

You might assume that a 4% ABV IPA is bland and flavorless. But that isn’t the case with Odell Good Behavior. That’s because this highly crushable, slightly hazy IPA is loaded with tropical fruit and citrus peels. On top of that, it’s not too bad for you as it’s only 110 calories and seven carbohydrates per can.

Tasting Notes:

A nose of grapefruit, lemon peel, freshly baked bread, and herbal, earthy, piney hops greet you before your first sip. The palate is a nice mix of bready malts, pineapple, grapefruit, orange peel, lemon zest, and herbal, piney hops. It’s not the most complex IPA ever made, but everything works well together.

Bottom Line:

Odell Good Behavior is an interesting session IPA. Since it’s a lower-calorie session IPA, it’s not going to knock your socks off in the flavor department but everything works together in unison.

3) Bell’s Light Hearted Ale Lo-Cal IPA

Bell's Light Hearted
Bell

ABV: 3.7%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

If you’re a fan of the iconic Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, but you’re looking for something remarkably sessionable, grab a Light Hearted Ale. This 3.7% ABV beer is the epitome of sessionable and refreshing with Centennial and Galaxy hops helping it pop on the palate.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is surprisingly aromatic with cereal grains, bready malts, wet grass, grapefruit, orange peels, and pine needles. Drinking brings forth notes of bready malts, lemon peels, tangerine, grapefruit, and spicy, herbal, slightly resinous hops. The finish is a nice mix of sweetness and bitterness.

Bottom Line:

Crack open a Light Hearted Ale and you won’t believe it’s under 4% ABV. This is a truly surprisingly flavorful session IPA.

2) Anchor Steam

Anchor Steam
Anchor

ABV: 4.9%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This iconic session beer was first brewed in 1896 with its first modern brewing in 1971, so it’s been around for quite a while. Anchor’s flagship beer is brewed with a blend of 2-Row, Pale, and Caramel malts as well as Northern Brewer hops.

Tasting Notes:

Surprisingly complex nose with notes of toffee, brown bread, dried fruits, and spicy, herbal, resinous hops that tie everything together well. The palate is biscuit and caramel malt forward with a nice combination of tropical fruit and floral, herbal hops at the finish. This is a very well-balanced, drinkable session beer.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason Anchor Steam is the iconic brewery’s flagship beer. It’s refreshing and light, but well-balanced and surprisingly complex for a sessionable beer.

1) Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell
Pilsner Urquell

ABV: 4.4%

Average Price: $9.50 for a six-pack

The Beer:

You can likely thank Pilsner Urquell for your favorite beer. That’s because Pilsner Urquell was the first ever commercially brewed pilsner, a pale lager variation. Brewed since 1842, this popular beer is known for its sweet, slightly hoppy, totally refreshing flavor profile.

Tasting Notes:

Bready malts, biscuit malts, and cereal grains are the first aromas on this beer’s nose. This is followed closely by citrus peels, sweet corn, and floral, herbal hops. The palate follows suit with cracker-like malts, cereal grains, caramel, and crisp, floral, earthy, slightly piney hops. The finish is a nice mixture of bitter hops and sweet malts.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to session beers, it’s really difficult to beat Pilsner Urquell. It’s flavorful, crushable, and always there.

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