Low-Alcohol Beers

Has Betsy Andrews replaced Eric Asimov as the beer writer for the Times? Let's hope so, because her story about low-alcohol session beers is a winner:

“A bunch of guys talk in the market,” said Don Feinberg, a founder of Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y., and an importer for Vanberg & DeWulf there. “We’ve all been saying the same thing for about 18 months now, which is, enough of the high octane.”

Mr. Feinberg imports boozy Trappist and farmhouse ales, but in April he introduced a brew from another Belgian tradition: bières de table.

“When I lived there in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” he said of his time in Belgium, “everybody drank it for lunch, from grandmothers to kids.”

It's a particular hobby-horse of mine, session ales, and it's quite a cutting-edge topic--all's the more impressive with Andrew's deft reportage. More:

Christopher Leonard, owner of the General Lafayette Inn, outside Philadelphia, said it was a test of his skill to create Lafayette’s Escape, a beer in the style of bière de table, at his inn’s brewery. It is only 1.9 percent alcohol.

“I was looking for a new challenge,” Mr. Leonard said. “I thought, Let’s go extreme the other way.”

He came up with an amber ale that has the peppery, herbal notes of Belgian yeast. “The beer had a residual sweetness, heft and density that made it taste like something that had more alcohol,” he said.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.