The Session IPA was the “it” sip of the summer, but now the air is crisp, inviting one last frolic out in nature. With that in mind, it’s still possible to indulge in seasonally appropriate, low-alcohol brews that evoke the best autumn flavors.
Below, we’ve hand picked complex and flavorful beers that clock in at under 5% abv without compromising the profile of the product. These autumnal session beers—so-called because of their immense drinkability—are the perfect sip for low-key and low-alcohol weekends of raking leaves, watching football and otherwise enjoying the last bit of good weather before Jack Frost arrives.
Japan’s Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout gives the feeling of sipping the foam from a cacao-dusted latte. It’s elegantly subtle due to the superb blend of malts (Maris Otter, wheat, crystal), hops (Kent Goldings) and adjuncts (roasted barley, lactose). The dark mahogany color gives the impression of a heavy hitter, but in reality it’s only 4% abv.
Hailing from Mississippi, the Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale is pleasantly smooth, with a unique character thanks to whole roasted pecans. It is also brewed with wheat grains, and Maris Otter and caramel malts. Hopped with domestic Nugget and Willamette, it clocks in at a breezy 4.39% abv.
There are worse things you can do than drink Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire Dark Farmhouse Ale all season. Containing only 4.5% abv, this bottle-conditioned, rich and intense Saison delights with notes of plums and cocoa. A touch of tartness is characteristic of the brand, and provides a nice quirkiness.
Incorporating house-smoked local wild hops in addition to Fuggle and East Kent Goldings, Newburgh Brewing Company’s Smokey the Beer is a hickory and applewood laced beauty. Containing just 4.2% abv, this amber-hued number also packs a variety of malts, including pale, chocolate, wheat, black, crystal, aromatic and brown.
At just 4.4% abv, the Jack-o Traveler Pumpkin Shandy makes use of real pumpkin, not just malts and baking spices. A Shandy-inspired wheat beer that isn’t your typical, “pull your UGGs on and go apple picking” pumpkin brew, it incorporates two-row malted barley, malted wheat and Hallertau hops.