When you're having more than one - Page 2

The Beer Issue: Our panel rates local session beers

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Anchor Brewing Company's Small Beer was a close third. The beer, which comes in at just 3.3 ABV, has an interesting history. Anchor brews a barleywine ale, Old Foghorn, that's almost 10 percent ABV. The brewers then take the once-used mix of malt mash and brew from it a second time, getting a much lighter result. But it doesn't taste like a rerun at all; one of us said it was "a nice beer that I'd like to keep at home and drink a lot of." Another called it "musty and earthy" and noted that it would "go well with a cheeseburger or pizza." And even the critics said, in the words of one, "this is pretty damn okay."

Ale Industries' Bliss got points for being "very drinkable." Our panelist noted a nice malty taste and called it "woodsy and smooth," although some described it as a bit watery. Stone Brewery's Stone Levitation Ale came off as "strong, with a bit of licorice flavor," although one drinker said its strength was also a weakness: "A bit to hoppy to drink a lot of it."

The Bud Light, I fear, didn't fare so well. We threw this in for fun (I, for one, remain a Bud Light fan) and for comparison. Although not technically defined as a session beer, it does clock in at 4.5 ABV, 20 percent lower than a standard Bud. Our tasters were not impressed: "This tastes like the 3.2 beer I had to drink during basic training in Fort Carson," our resident former infantryman wrote. Or, as another put it, "Has the metallic finish that makes for great keg parties and awful hangovers." Still the Bud Light got points for sessionability; "For sure the best choice for beer pong. You could probably consume mass quantities and still be OK in the morning."

Ale Industries Orange Shush came in last, probably because its flavor is unique and quite different from the other samples. The critics called its flavor too fruity. The people who liked it, though, said that it was a "good light beer that I could drink all night."

Which is, after all, the point.