Entertainment Restaurants Bars

A beer lover's plea for less boozy beer

There are two types of drinking: Drinking to get drunk, and drinking to enjoy flavor. I have certainly done the former (file under: awkward weddings, boring family gatherings and most parties before I turned 23), but now I find myself mostly drinking because I enjoy whatever beer, wine or cocktail I've ordered. That's at the root of my recent conundrum.

My drink of choice usually is craft beer, but lately I've noticed a disturbing problem: A lack of session beer on bar menus. Session beers are what they sound like: Lower-alcohol (5 percent alcohol by volume or below) beers that you could drink multiples of over the course of a few hours without ending up streaking Will Ferrell-style down Division Street.

Exhibit A: Friends and I convened last week at a brewpub to watch a Blackhawks game. Knowing I was in for at least three hours of drinking (and likely some overtime), I scanned the menu for a session beer. Nada. Seriously?

It's the summer. I bike a lot. I'm already losing fluids with all this sweating, er, glistening, and I could use a 5 percent, or better yet, 4 percent beer to sip in the afternoon.

I do give a tip of my cap to the breweries that are making these lower-alcohol beers, and to the bars that serve them. Stiegl Radler grapefruit, Bell's Oarsman ale and other sessionable brews are, sadly, often crowded out by the flashier double IPAs and imperial whatevers that beer bros lose their shit over.

Those styles have their places and I do enjoy them in moderation, but beer is a spectrum. A well-rounded menu, especially at a purported craft beer bar in the summer, should represent multiple styles and cater to the broad range of beer palates out there.

As more Chicagoans dip their toes into the deliciously carbonated waters of craft beer, bars and breweries are at risk of turning them off with alcohol overloads. If you guzzle three 9 percent IPAs thinking that's the same thing as drinking three Miller High Lifes, good luck.

So, bartenders, brewers and beverage managers, consider this my plea for some low-ABV beer love. And fellow session drinkers, make your voices heard, too; one of the reasons IPAs are everywhere is because hopheads are louder than the rest of us. I promise that if your bar devotes just a few taps to a tasty 4 percent beer, I'll order one—maybe even four.

Kate Bernot is RedEye's nightlife reporter. She suggests eggs Benedict and club soda to cure your hangover.

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    During an early morning jog along Lake Michigan with his wife and children Tuesday, John Corba spotted a man struggling in the water nearly 30 yards from the shore.

  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

Comments
Loading