Low ABV/ABW High taste and quality beers next big thing?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BierGartenok, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. But the quality is the same. I buy Notch Pils often, it's pretty much my go to and can be found for $9 and some change per sixer. I also buy 4 packs of Allagash Black. The ABV never plays a part in the decision process, those are just two beers I tend to an enjoy. If I have two Notch 12oz bottles its costing me roughly $3.25 where is I have two Allagash at $11.69 a 4 pack I'm paying $5.00+ for two beers. The math pretty much evens itself out.
  2. TheBeerAlmanac

    TheBeerAlmanac Poobah (1,030) Kentucky Mar 3, 2011 Beer Trader

    Any excuse to drink during work gets my vote.
  3. Hanzo

    Hanzo Champion (975) Virginia Feb 27, 2012

    I know this has more than likely already been mentioned but I am a huge fan of Founders All Day IPA. The more lower ABV full flavor beers the better.
    skinsfan likes this.
  4. nc41

    nc41 Champion (855) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008 Beer Trader

    I've only had a small sampling of Gumballhead, but this is a great brew, if more brewers went this way most would approve. Gumball in a can would be an awesome beach/pool beer.
    skinsfan likes this.
  5. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Advocate (735) Massachusetts Dec 4, 2004 Verified


    The first two, Uncle Teddy's English Bitter from Victory, and Bitter Brewer from Surly, are both at 4% abv, and are scored over 4. I've had Uncle Teddy's on cask and it's phenomal, I would not disagree with that rating. Even Goose Island's Honkers Ale, a bit high at 4.2%, is scored as a 3.8 with a LARGE number of reviews, and at a reasonable price.

    Also, if you look hard enough in the Top 100, there's a few beers by New Glarus at 4%, and a couple by Cantillon at 5% abv. You may not like sours, but Cantillon definitely makes complex beers that can rival those high abv imperial stouts and IPAs.
    scootny likes this.
  6. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poobah (1,080) California Jan 31, 2005 Beer Trader

    I'm down with flavorful IPA's that have lower ABV--makes 'em more sessionable.:)
  7. harrymel

    harrymel Advocate (650) Washington Dec 15, 2010

    21st Amendment Bitter American is great, and canned. 4.4% ABV

    Wish I got Founder's All Day out here, haven't tried it yet.
  8. EJLinneman

    EJLinneman Savant (465) New Jersey Mar 2, 2009 Beer Trader

    I'm glad that I have a brewery down the street from my house that makes session beers that are more tasty than a lot of high ABV beers. Makes it nice when I want to sit down and have a few beers and not be a complete mess afterwards.
  9. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    I'll have to try these out. I just moved to WA so i'm not sure what available. Dissident was amazing so i'm gonna start exploring sours, fruity, lambics, and stuff like that, so hopefully cantillon is available around here.
  10. Is the Founders All Day better than the Laguinitas version?

    I would love to see more low alcohol full flavored beers emerge. I don't often drink just to get drunk, but sometimes you are out socially for hours at a time, and just sipping while talking you can put back quite a few.
  11. CA_Infidel2o9

    CA_Infidel2o9 Savant (310) Dec 1, 2012

    I actually didn't like lagunitas all day. It was so watered down, i had no idea it was an IPA.
  12. I hated it. I am hoping the Founders version is better.
  13. scootny

    scootny Savant (450) New York Dec 31, 2007

    This thread is really touching on a lot of the nuances that will make or break the success of these types of beers. I love the comparison to acoustic music being a musician myself. So true in that there is nothing to hide behind in either example. I am now dying to get my hands on some Evil Twin Bikini Beer. This seems to hit the nail on the head dead center as far as ABV for me. I find it interesting that many members consider low ABV as below 5% and others 3%. Anyone remember the disdain thrown at 3-2 beers in Colorado? Now we are talking about the positives of such a style. I really hope that the brewing community will begin to bring its considerable talents to the task of opening up a new world of beers for us to enjoy and have our wits about us at the same time.
  14. papat444

    papat444 Poobah (1,640) Quebec (Canada) Dec 28, 2006 Beer Trader

    Thanks for pointing that one out. I'll have to look for it next time i'm in the U.S.
  15. Couldn't agree more on Uncle Teddy's. THE best cask beer I've ever had, and one of the best beers period, really. No, it won't wreck your palate like a 12% stout, but it is in no way thin or lacking in flavor. So delicious. Also, agree with the Cantillon statement. Anyone who thinks that you need high ABV for big flavor doesn't know much about beer.

    Berliner Weisse is a style I've been enjoying lately. Clocks in at under 4% and has plenty of flavor. I've only had house-brewed versions at a few joints around town, but have enjoyed them greatly.
  16. Cbusssted

    Cbusssted Aficionado (195) Ohio Jul 3, 2012

    Is this guy for cereal?
  17. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Advocate (735) Massachusetts Dec 4, 2004 Verified

    +1 on all of this. I love the Berliner Weisse style, I really wish there more. I really wish there more of many of the lower abv styles all around. Bitters, milds, lambic/gueuze, Munich Helles, pilsners, Berliner weisse, Irish dry stout....I'm always more impressed when a brewer pulls one of these off rather than another double IPA. I'm a hop head too, but let's face it, I can trip and fall over in the liquor store and odds are I'll bump into a solid IPA.
  18. I think the next "big thing" is going to be barrel aging.
  19. You have much to learn. Never go to the UK. Don't spend time in the Czech Republic. Avoid going to Germany. Never try Lambics and sours, Don't try to become a beer judge.

    I recommend just drinking Bourbon and Spirits, that is where you are going with your list.
    CBlack85 and skinsfan like this.
  20. Ataraxia

    Ataraxia Savant (315) Massachusetts Sep 20, 2012 Beer Trader

    1. Never said I was a beer sage/god/whatever. And I don't intend to try to be a beer judge.
    2. Notice how I said "My 'ABV as a metric for measuring beer' in addition to other qualities:"? Yeah, that. It's not the sole or top scale that I go by. The abv number is another piece of info that I glance at when looking over the name, description, etc. of a beer I've yet to try.
    3. I tried a lambic and did not like it, so you should have told me this before I spent $15 on it.
    4. I've tried several beers from the UK and more from Germany; I think what I chose were great.
    5. I don't like bourbon really, but I worship single malt scotch. Black rum is awesome too.
  21. This will always be the problem. Unfortunately the few lower ABV they are basically the same price as a 7% ABV IPA. While I do enjoy lower ABV beers and am no way advocating that a 7% ABV IPA is always better than a 4% ABV beer that can still pack as much flavor, the main point is, the IPA has more ingredients yet costs the same as a small/session beer. While quality is still my main concern when buying a beer, price is probably my second deciding factor. Personally I find it hard to spend $10 for a 6 pack of 4% ABV beer when I can buy a good IPA for the same price.
    bluejacket74 and UHCougar12 like this.
  22. UHCougar12

    UHCougar12 Advocate (565) Texas Feb 21, 2011 Beer Trader

    Maybe I'm looking at this whole abv/price thing all wrong. When I drink beer I am intend on getting drunk, if getting drunk wasn't a bi-product then I definitely wouldn't be wasting my money on a $10 6pack. For me the abv is just as important as the price its self. If the abv shouldn't be considered when determining a purchase Ill just go by a sixer of diet coke, and pound those all night.

    As far as lower abv beers are concerned I would absolutely be a buyer if the price is right. I would put them in the same category as the specialty sodas that are roughly $1 per bottle.
  23. I've bought a lot of Notch over the past couple of years, including the Pils. I've been especially impressed with their other Czech-style brews, the Cerne Pivo and the Polotmavy, both of which offer all the flavor I desire at under 4.5% ABV.
  24. i think the next big thing is getting away from very very dark beers...

    yes, thats right...

    CLEAR BEER.... mark my words....
  25. liamt07

    liamt07 Champion (795) Ontario (Canada) Jul 26, 2009 Beer Trader

    ABV must certainly be an objective then. A six pack of 10% beer will "last much longer" than a six pack of 4% beer if you're drinking with ABV in mind. If a beer is a beer is a beer, then both should last an equal amount of time, and that shouldn't be a factor affecting whether or not you purchase said item. It's completely amateur to disregard low-ABV brews in light of getting your fix of ABV from a beer(s).
  26. Love it when I can find a flavorful IPA/Pale Ale or otherwise hoppy brew that also features lower alcohol % like this one. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/3835/63994 That is such a great beer but it seems stupid that it only comes in expensive 22 oz bottles and not in six packs. Why? Another great similar beer is Alpine's Hoppy Birthday but I just looked and it is over 5 % but in the land of IPA that seems rather reasonable. Also neither of these beers is readily avaliable. I would like to see more attempts at this sort of thing. Can we make a 4% Double Sunshine like beer or a 5% Enjoy By. Bring it brewers.
  27. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Advocate (720) California Dec 11, 2006 Verified

    Whenever I want a low ABV beer I go with Hottenroth by The Bruery and it does the trick just fine. (It's around 3.1% and $8 for a 750):


    They also have "Nottenroth" which I believe is somewhere in the mid 2%'s. I haven't tried it yet.
  28. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Savant (415) Missouri Jun 10, 2008 Beer Trader

    But a beer is not a beer is not a beer. A sixer of a low ABV beer might last a few days in my fridge where a sixer of a 10% ABV will be in there a week or more. A low ABV beer I will probably not nurse forever and might have 2-3 of them, whereas a 10% ABV beer will likely be in my glass for an hour or more and might likely be the only beer I have that night. So the fact is that they do not last the same amount of time. So why shouldn't that be a factor? I am not looking to get my fix in or try to get as much alcohol in me as possible. I consume fewer ounces of higher alcohol beers, so they absolutely last much longer. I am looking to stretch out my dollar sometimes as I do not have an unlimited budget for beer. So yeah, it's a factor.
  29. TheBeerAlmanac

    TheBeerAlmanac Poobah (1,030) Kentucky Mar 3, 2011 Beer Trader

    I had no idea so many people on a beer forum don't look for taste first and foremost when drinking a beer.

    Honestly, if someone created a Founders Imperial Stout clone and then told me it was 0% alcohol, I'd still drink the shit out of that shit. When I was in college, I enjoyed getting drunk. Now, I enjoy drinking beer. Can I have one without the other? Absolutely.
  30. lucasj82

    lucasj82 Champion (980) Indiana Aug 13, 2009 Beer Trader

    I love Levitation from Stone brewery but $12 a six pack seems little to much for the abv%. IMHO.
  31. For people that are arguing that you can't have full flavor and low gravity, I have to wonder if they've ever HAD a good session-ish strength beer (i.e. been across the pond to England, Scotland, Germany, etc)? Even some that are available Stateside (Black Sheep Special Ale, at 4.4%...too bad you can't get it fresh anymore, but this has a TON of flavor and nice body) and Goose Island Honkers...that's packed with light, biscuity malt character and a large bout of late-hopping from the Styrians at only 4.2%. The argument that "your bitter doesnt have as much flavor as my DIPA" doesn't really make sense to me. I used to have a friend tell me (based upon the commercials on TV, among other things), "But Miller Lite has so much more TASTE than Bud Light" (this was WAY back when I was a macro drinker and 19). I was like, "Yeah, it does, but it tastes like shit, so does more taste mean anything"? There are a TON of crappy tasting craft 'big beers' out there...just because they have 'more flavor' (how do you quantify that, anyway?) doesn't mean they're better-tasting, does it? I mean, if you go by that logic, a cask-strength non-chill-filtered Single-Malt has more flavor than your 9% RIS, right? Not trying to be a douchenozzle, but this is something I feel passionately about, and this argument just does not compute...
  32. BILF

    BILF Advocate (725) Israel Jan 9, 2010

    3.7 % ABV + 30-40 IBU + Dry Hopping is definitely the future.
  33. Porkhustle

    Porkhustle Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2012

    I pity you.
  34. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Advocate (745) Massachusetts Mar 17, 2009 Beer Trader

    My problem with session beers around here is that they are usually about the same price as some beers that are twice as high in alcohol and obviously more flavorful. I also tend to drink them twice as fast. Being sober gets to be expensive.
  35. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Advocate (735) Massachusetts Dec 4, 2004 Verified

    We could take opinion completely out of it and look at facts. In 2011 Bud Light was the best selling beer in America at 4.2% abv, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was the number one selling craft beer at 5.6% abv, followed by Sam Adams Boston Lager (excluding "seasonal" which is more than one style) at 4.9% abv.

    There's already a market for lower abv beers.
  36. incutrav

    incutrav Savant (315) Minnesota Jan 16, 2007

    Same as some others have said, i take issue with the price on 'session' beers. In MN, you have several to choose from. Surly Bitter Brewer is 4%, but its the same price as Furious at most places. Its a great beer, but you could kill a 4pk in no time(not that you cant w/ Fury, but it slows me down). Other is Brau Bro's Hopsession, 4% as well. This beer is actually MORE then their entire lineup. 10.99 at most places, where as their regulars are 7.99. Its a great beer as well, but to me , if it has a lower ABV, that means I will likley drink them quicker then a higher ABV counterpart. Lag. Daytime IPA is the same price as Lag. Brown Shugga. I get that some breweries just line price all their seasonals, regulars, etc to the same SKU(Founders noted this recently) so I suppose it evens out, as a beer like Brown Shugga is a darn good buy, while the Daytime IPA would seem to be not so good.

    Anywho, I only have a set amount I spend a month on beer, so unless a lower ABV beer is lower in price, I'm not buying.
  37. Sounds on point to me...

    Blah, blah, blah...High ABV beers are just a fad...Fad my ass. Give me a high gravity, high quality product and I will call it a day. You can keep your low ABV crap, thank you very much.
    ObiWanKushnobi likes this.
  38. Matter of perspective...Who are you do decide whats off the mark, the objective, and if its doing it wrong??? To each their own man, you drink what you like for the reasons you feel good about, we'll do the same...
    ObiWanKushnobi likes this.
  39. pweis909

    pweis909 Champion (800) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005 Verified

    If by "next big thing" you mean "will dominate the top 100 best rated beers on Beer Advocate," I'd have to believe the answer is "No." Flavorful low ABV beers do not seem to resonate with the average BA. On the other hand, I would love it if mild offerings became a standard option in pubs in the US as they are in the UK. When I'm out, I am often looking for the lowest ABV craft beer offered. I also try to keep some low gravity beer around the house, as I don't want to be drinking imperial this or double that on a nightly basis. Those beers can be tasty, but they'll put me to sleep before I finish my homework.