It’s Time to Consider the 2-Percent Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by M-Fox24, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,143) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey
  2. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (1,676) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    All respect to Jack Hendler but, just say no.
    monkist, Zorro, johnyb and 12 others like this.
  3. AWA

    AWA Disciple (319) Jul 22, 2014 California

    Did that article seriously tell me that daytime drinking is not functional? Shit, I've worked hard to build a life where daytime drinking improves functionality. Either this is a joke or it's just cruel.
    mynie, zac16125, JohnnyHopps and 34 others like this.
  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,108) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Not sure what era or country they're referring to as those stats being "traditional" but in the US, post-Repeal most beers were typically under 5% abv. In the late 30's, the average lager beer was around 4.5% (ales tended to be higher).

    In the late 1970s a sampling of around 100 US beers (not including low calorie "lights" or super-premiums) found fewer than 4% were over 5% abv. Even among the super-premiums, about 75% were under 5% abv. When M. Jackson compiled his first US ed. of his Pocket Guide to Beer (1982), the highest regularly released US beers were Olde English 800 and Ballantine India Pale Ale - both 7.5% abv.

    As for "low alcohol" - by US regulation, that means under 2.5%.
  5. StJamesGate

    StJamesGate Poo-Bah (4,735) Oct 8, 2007 New York

    This line made me laugh.
    Britain's been doing this for over a century, for pretty much every style. There's even at tax break for beers 2.8% and under.
    This doesn't need to be reinvented.
  6. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,143) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey

    Agreed, but the article is on American Craft, given Bernstein's background

    "American brewing…session beer struggled because it lacked definition. The U.K. has a rich tradition of low-alcohol ales, including the bitter and mild, that lubricate pub culture"
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,833) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    From the article:

    “The U.K. has a rich tradition of low-alcohol ales, including the bitter and mild, that lubricate pub culture.”

    If this new ‘trend’ (or gimmick?) leads to more US craft breweries producing Bitter Ales and Mild Ales (preferably served on cask at the brewery’s tasting room) I am all for it. But I am not holding my breath here. I remember when the flagship beer from Yards Brewing Company was their ESA (Extra Special Ale) and it was available at a number of craft beer bars on hand-pump. Now ESA is principally only available at the brewery’s taproom (and only occasionally via cask).

  8. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (428) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    Definitely interested in good low alcohol beers. Craft 4ish abv bitter or mild ales sound great to me it could them at decent price. Allows one to drink more over course of day or just enjoy one or two with food without as much of the alcohol affects. Definitely why I'm drinking more lagers over the last year, or even pale ales vs IPAs

    I don't have experience with anything in 2% range to know if that's something I would enjoy
  9. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,625) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I’ve had low abv English Milds, but even those were 3.8%.
    russpowell, Gemini6 and beergoot like this.
  10. marquis

    marquis Champion (802) Nov 20, 2005 England

    The great majority of "innovation" in brewing is reinventing the wheel.
    rocdoc1, Singlefinpin, vurt and 8 others like this.
  11. beer_beer

    beer_beer Devotee (407) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    Here there seems to be a market for those beers below 2.8% abv. They are on the same shelves as the below 0.5% (NA), and often are 2.5%. Would say they are a quarter to a third as many as the NAs. I learn about them, because I need to avoid them :grin:. But I'm all for different alternatives.
    Singlefinpin, russpowell and beergoot like this.
  12. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Crusader (796) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

    If they were tasty I would be the first in line, but it better work this time
  13. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,349) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    Haven't had either the Jack's Abby or the Notch yet, but I think that this is a good concept. I would definitely be interested in these types of beers if they taste good. Speaking for myself here, but despite loving beer and trying new beers, I'm not drinking to get drunk. Taking that out of the equation with flavorful options is appealing to me.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,833) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    I think understand what you are getting at here since the beers marketed as Session IPAs a few years ago and now marketed as Lo-Cal do not 'work' for me.

    The challenge for this 'next generation' of beers is that if the market chooses to not buy them simply because they are marketed as low ABV (even if they are tasty) then the breweries will stop making them.

  15. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Aspirant (219) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Why? You want to just pee a lot?
    Drink a glass of water in between beers of decent ABV and you should have no probs.
    All we need is another Fad beer taking up valuable real estate on the shelves. It's hard enough to find a good Real Beer these days. One without way too much hops, sour, fruit, pastry, wood and whatever groceries are lying around the brewhouse.
    If you don't want to get drunk, don't drink beer all day long!
    Please, just brew and drink the classic styles, the way they were meant to be made! Mustard beer, hot sauce beer, I mean, come on.
  16. Providence

    Providence Crusader (703) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I would love to have access to tasty 2-3% beers. I don't like to pace myself when I drink. I want large quantities of low abv stuff that I can drink without care (but I also want it to taste halfway decent).
  17. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,804) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    I’d honestly love it. I could drink more. And the more I drink the more nuances I’d pick up.
  18. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,804) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    I knew the day would come and honestly thought to myself bro I want more than one beer but all I have is 8%+. this is especially true with stouts which I primarily drink. But not dropping a price point not many people are going to do this regularly.
  19. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,349) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    I think you'll see certain breweries push it because they're interested in it. A couple of the breweries in the article, Notch and Jack's Abby, I definitely see following through with this. I don't know how much of an "opportunity" this will be or a growth market. I don't think we'll be flooded with it as an offering, particularly for the reason you posted. I do think that there will be enough demand from people like me though.
  20. beergoot

    beergoot Poo-Bah (6,450) Oct 11, 2010 Colorado
    Society Trader

    I'd love to see more grodziskie beers around...
  21. BruChef

    BruChef Initiate (161) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    I’ll add lichtenhainer to this as well.
  22. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Disciple (312) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    I’ve been making 2% beers for the past 3 years. Get on my level people. Drink all day without getting drunk! Sounds good to me!
    Singlefinpin, BruChef and SFACRKnight like this.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,833) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And while I too would enjoy drinking a lower ABV beer like a Bitter Ale or a Mild Ale I already know that in my area (Philly area) there was not enough demand to keep Yards former flagship beer ESA going.

    A couple of years ago at the Yards Real Ale Invitational cask beer event I had a discussion with Tom Kehoe (owner of Yards) about whether ESA (especially on cask) could make a comeback and be a distributed beer. He politely listened to my plea, with a wry smile on his face, and replied on the order of "you never know, maybe someday we will be able to do this". He already knew the numbers weren't there and unless something drastic happens in the craft beer scene Yards ESA has completed its course. At lease it is still available at the Yards tasting room.

    Singlefinpin and Sheppard like this.
  24. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,616) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I've considered it. Pass.
  25. KRug

    KRug Champion (806) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I see what you did there :wink:
    Can you put a price on ABV?:heavymetal:
  26. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Aspirant (219) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I'd be Hell pissed if I bought a case of beer and brought it home only to realize that it's a near beer. What, now I've got to read the fine print on all new beers? No thanks. They need to put it next to the O'douls and Framboise.
  27. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,802) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    I listened to a podcast with @TrveBrewer discussing their stance on lower abv beers. For those who arent familiar with TRVE most of their offerings are at or below 5 percent for the sake of drink ability. Recently they dropped a sub 3 percent beer called lower that uses expressive Belgian yeast strains to develop flavor. It's a great beer to drink the hell out of without being pissed. If I make the 30 mile drive I can grab a pint of pretty much anything on tap and still drive home. Theres more to beer than alcohol.
    Like quenching my thirst while listening to pig destroyer.
    #27 SFACRKnight, Dec 16, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
  28. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Initiate (105) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey

    I'll drink a 2% radler as an alternative to seltzer/soda when I am too lazy to go upstairs to my regular refrigerator. I sometimes drink a 4 pack of it when I want to pretend to be drinking beer before having to drive. I sometimes drink NA beer while driving home after golfing.
    Singlefinpin likes this.
  29. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Initiate (159) Aug 24, 2020 California

    Hey, I am used to NA beers for those days when the meds preclude a nice 9%+ stout or IPA, so the prospect of a 2% beer does not phase me, since i have seen the wonders that can be worked with NA. However, I actually am more interested in what those 2% beers can offer as far as calorie reduction compared to a regular full alcohol offering. I am at that age where calories get harder to burn off and I stop my nightly drinking because of calories, not because of the alcohol.
  30. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,634) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I would definitely welcome some lower alcohol styles, but like others have mentioned price becomes an issue. After all, I can't drink $15 6 or 4 packs all day regardless of the abv.v
  31. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (119) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    I like the idea of having a flavorful session-ABV beer akin to Milds or Bitters of the British style, but I find that at their price versus the amount of alcohol, they're hardly worth the cost.
  32. Genuine

    Genuine Devotee (442) May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    I've been craving some english styles lately and will be brewing up an Ordinary Bitter and/or a Pub Ale...something in the 3% range that you can have a few pints of.
  33. BSRicky

    BSRicky Initiate (12) Jul 4, 2016 Canada (AB)

    This seems like a bit of classic American 'extremism'. First we'll keep raising the ABV and general contents of beer to the point you can't, and don't want to drink one when you're thirsty, now this is the hard swing back on the pendulum to way past where the start point was.

    I'm all for lower ABV, full flavored, full calorie (calories are what tastes good) styles, but just moving the needle of craft beer back into the 4-5% that has worked....well, just about as long as we have written records of beer seems like a pretty good start.
  34. tjhuot

    tjhuot Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2007 Maryland

    I have no problem with lower ABV beers, except I haven't found any that actually taste the same as the originals. If that is possible, I will certainly give it a try.
    Singlefinpin and Mojo like this.
  35. beershrine

    beershrine Initiate (0) May 29, 2004 California

    I'm on board with this as long as it's a $2 pint in the bar.
    Singlefinpin, jasonmason and beergoot like this.
  36. CajenMike

    CajenMike Initiate (0) Aug 8, 2012 Tennessee

    Visiting a friend a few years ago in Belgium, they put out a Table Beer with lunch. It was really, really good. I looked at the bottle and it was a 1.8% beer. If I could find it here, I'd probably drink it. Repeat, it was really good. Not too sweet and fuzzy like a radler, not as bitter as a "normal" beer. I don't remember the brand, I just remember being amazed at how good a low alcohol beer was. I don't know what the price point was either. I do remember expressing how impressed I was at the flavor and remarking on the low alcohol content. My friend said that was the beer they gave to children. It made sense.
  37. Mojo

    Mojo Champion (819) Jul 21, 2012 Alabama

    That's what I think too. But I just don't think they will taste quite the same.

    I always said if SNPA had the same taste, no alcohol and no carbs (due to diabetes), I would pound them all day long.
  38. DanielAron

    DanielAron Initiate (141) May 15, 2005 Illinois

    Love it! There are definitely recent trends I can do without. I'm glad people out there want no bitterness IPAs and donuts or whatever other pastry in their beer. Doesn't taste like beer to me, but to each his/her own. My problem is that I can't find the beers I love on the shelves among all of these trendy beers. I'm a bit of a hypocrite here because I love sours and wild beer. But I'm my defense, I was drinking gueze back in the 90s. So I feel the trend finally just caught up to me!

    In the end though, all I really care about is people enjoying what they're drinking. For that, I'll suffer a bit finding what I'm looking for. Peace.
  39. AlieLagerkolschbock

    AlieLagerkolschbock Initiate (38) Jul 24, 2018 California

    Worst beer idea of the century, especially in the context of those (cited) English ales - heavy, flat, brown....and even worse, "Sans-A-Buzz!" These weak beers are the antithesis of, e.g., Duvel. Shit - I'd druther (much) quaff a Steel Reserve @8.1!
    beergoot likes this.
  40. timobkg

    timobkg Aspirant (237) Aug 24, 2006 New Jersey

    But what if I could not get drunk AND drink beer all day long? I want that option! I want to drink my beer and have my sobriety too!