All Day IPA

The Rise of Session Craft Beer

For decades, some craft brewers have waged an “arms race,” competing to brew the beer with the most IBUs, the most unusual ingredients, and especially, the highest alcohol content.

As Nick Panchamé, head brewer at Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City, Michigan, put it, ”When craft beer started, people didn’t want anything that looked like macro brews.”

More recently, however, Right Brain has released two successful session-strength beers.

Right Brain follows in the footsteps of another Michigan brewery, Founders Brewing Company, whose All Day IPA has become its largest-selling beer. Founders’ CEO Mike Stevens said, “We never intended to fill a void. By accident we seemed to time it right.” Stevens said that the beer was in development three years, and that he had no intention of “dumbing down” his products.

Another Michigan brewmaster, Tony Hansen of Short’s Brewing Company, said his company came to the realization that “big and bold beers aren’t perfect for every occasion.” Hansen added that session beers “will be kind of a gateway beer” for those looking to break away from national-brand beers.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Bangkok’s brewery count in 2014: 20.
  • Its brewery count in 2013: 4.
  • West Virginia’s craft brewery count: 7.
  • Craft brewing’s impact on West Virginia’s economy: $118 million (46th in the nation).
  • Arrests at Oktoberfest 2014: 720 (39 fewer than at Oktoberfest 2013).
  • Lost objects at Oktoberfest 2014: 3,346 (including 2 wedding rings, a mobile cat carrier, and a German Federal Cross of Merit 2nd-class medal).
  • Founders Brewing Company’s production in 2014: 190,000 barrels.
  • Founders’ projected capacity after expansion is completed: 900,000 barrels.
  • Alcoholic content of All Day IPA, Founders’ largest-selling beer: 4.7 percent by volume.
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company’s production in 2014: almost 600,000 barrels.
  • Increase in Lagunitas’ production over the year before: 60 percent (it opened a second brewery in Chicago).
  • Dos Equis’ sales in 2013: 1.57 million barrels.
  • Increase in Dos Equis’ sales between 2008 and 2013: 116.6 percent (number-one in the nation in sales growth).
  • Most expensive beer in the National Basketball Association: 60 cents an ounce (Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland).
  • Cheapest beer in the NBA: 33 cents an ounce (Chesapeake Arena, Oklahoma City, and Phillips Arena, Atlanta).
  • The Friday Mash (DNA Edition)

    On this day in 1953, Francis Crick and James D. Watson published a paper in the British journal Nature that described the double helix structure of DNA. The ability to sequence and manipulate DNA is a key to the biotechnology industry, and modern medicine in general.

    And now…The Mash!

    We begin in the Willamette Valley, where the nation’s first hop and brewing archive was recently at Oregon State University. The valley, on the 45th parallel, has ideal hop-growing conditions.

    Jay Brooks dusted off a 1947 issue of Look magazine, in which writer Don Wharton asks readers “What Kind of Drinker Are You?”. He describes 11 categories, and most of us fall into at least one.

    Brewing carries a “white men with beards” stereotype, but Los Angeles is home to a growing Latino brewing community. LA Weekly profiles several craft cerveza breweries in the area.

    Summer is coming, and that means session IPAs. The trend started last year with Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA, and other breweries have jumped in with their own versions.

    And when those hot days of summer arrive, you might want one of these: The Beer Glass Froster by from Hammacher Schlemmer, which will frost your glass in ten seconds.

    Flying Dog Ales is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Old Bay seasoning with a spicy summer ale called Dead Rise. It’s named after the boats used by Chesapeake Bay crabbers.

    Finally, Martyn Cornell, the Zythophile, asks whether micropubs–establishments with Real Ale and no electronic distractions–are a passing fad or the future of British watering holes.

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