Daily beer project

Amstel Light, Session Lager, and Revisiting Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Posted in American Craft Beer, Imports, Macrobrews by dailybeerproject on July 21, 2010

Amstel Light: The Amstel Gold Race is one of the spring classics on the Pro Tour cycling calendar. The race takes its name from the title sponsor, Amstel Brewery. And any beer that sponsors a bike race is worth trying at least once.

Amstel was bought by Heineken in 1968, and Heineken offers four different beers under the Amstel brand. Amstel Light is the only one available locally, presumably because at 3.5% abv, it is the only one that meets our wacky local liquor laws regarding what can and cannot be purchased in the grocery store.

The low alcohol content also keeps the calorie content down, so Amstel Light has all of 95 calories per bottle. Michelob Ultra positions itself as a beer for the active, health-conscious crowd, but if I’m limiting myself to 95 calories, I’ll choose the Amstel Light 100% of the time. And while my beer-drinking philosophy is that I’d rather drink fewer good beers than a few more that are lacking in flavor, I still might be curious enough to do back-to-back taste tests with Amstel Light, Coors Light, and Sam Adams Light.

Session Lager: Given that I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried that’s come out of the Full Sail brewery, when I visited their website and discovered they also make Session Lager, I figured I needed to give it a go as well. Glad I did, because it’s awesome.

Session comes in short, squat, eleven ounce bottles that sell for about a buck a piece at the local liquor store. It’s an attempt at re-creating the pre-prohibition American lager, and according to the company, is neither micro, macro, nor import, but a little of each, and intended to appeal to drinkers of all three. I can’t imagine how it wouldn’t. Perfect beer for sipping on the porch when the temperature has finally started coming down on a hot summer day.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (revisited): This is a beer I wanted to like very early in this project but didn’t. I’m happy to report that I like it now. I was in Idaho for a bike race and had dinner after the race at a restaurant that had Sierra Nevada on tap. Wow. Beer on tap is oh-so-good, and had I not been racing again the next day, I would have ordered another. And perhaps another still.

I also had one in the fridge when I got home the next day, so I tried it to see how well the bottled version compared. Yum again. I’m really coming to embrace and love the hoppiness of pale ales, to the point that some really malty beers that are light on the hops have become less appealing. Glad there’s no shortage of craft brewers making pale ale. I think I’ll revisit some of the local >4% abv beers that I tried and wasn’t crazy about early in this project.

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3 Responses

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  1. Revisiting Stella « Daily beer project said, on September 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    […] I’d go back and revisit some beers I tried early on to see if my opinion had changed. I already did this with Sierra Nevada, and considering that’s now one of my favorites, it seems worth doing with […]

  2. […] who don’t like the flavor of beer and who like to pee a lot.” It’s a lot like Session lager and something I wouldn’t hesitate to buy […]

  3. Retrospective « Daily beer project said, on January 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    […] is worthy of a nod because it’s way good and comes in cans. But I can’t get it locally. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is always good and is readily available, but it doesn’t stand above the crowd in any regard. […]


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