Sunday, November 27, 2016

Session beer of the 1950s?

Session beer in the 1950s?
Shaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one.
Shaefer's pleasure doesn't fade even when your thirst is done.
The most rewarding flavor in this man's world,
For people who are having fun,
Shaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one.

That's a 1950s-era television commercial for F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company of New York, New York (1842-1981), once a titan of the American beer industry.

Suggesting —encouraging— that a consumer drink more than one beer? That's an inducement to intemperance that would not be permitted in the 21st century. Or would it? Compare that sixty-year-old jingle to this slogan of very recent vintage:
The beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.

Founders Brewing (of Grand Rapids, Michigan) first publicly brewed its All Day IPA as a 'seasonal' beer in 2012; in 2013, the brewery released it as a year-round item. With an alcohol content of 4.7% and an IBU content of 42 (a measure of hop-derived bitterness), All Day IPA is widely considered the most most-imitated —if not the progenitor— of 21st-century so-called 'session IPAs.' Of having more than one.

The Alcohol Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) is the agency of the U.S. government tasked with regulating alcoholic beverages under Federal law. It has specific rules on the advertising and labelling of beer, prohibiting, for example, health statements of a therapeutic nature or claims "that imply a physical or psychological sensation results from consuming the malt beverage." Such as keeping your "senses sharp"? It's meretricious when the 'big' boys do it, but brilliant when the 'craft' boys do?

Beer writer —and 'session' beer campaigner— Lew Bryson defines an American session beer as of 4.5% alcohol-by-volume or less, with flavor. Others insist upon moreish 'drinkability' as an additional, necessary postulate: a beer out-of-whack in any one department would not be a session. Like lots of hops. Others would disagree. All Day? I'd not call it a 'session' beer, but a hoppy American pale ale. (HAPA anyone?) But that's just me.

Session beer: the one beer to have when you're having more than one.


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