What is a session ale?

Badger Brewery Portland Poster Session Ale 12th January 2024

Gaining increasing popularity in the beer world is the term ‘session ale’. While beer enthusiasts are accustomed to a variety of styles, session ales bring a unique and approachable dimension to the beer-drinking experience.

In this article, we’ll explore what defines a session ale, its characteristics, and why it has become a favourite among beer connoisseurs.


What defines a Session Ale?


A session ale is a type of beer characterised by its lower alcohol content, typically ranging from 3% to 5% alcohol by volume (ABV). The term ‘session’ in this context refers to a drinking session, indicating that these beers are designed for extended periods of consumption, without overwhelming the drinker with high alcohol levels. Unlike some heavyweight counterparts that boast high ABV, session ales prioritise balance, flavour, and drinkability.


What are the characteristics of a session ale?


  • Moderate Alcohol Content: Session ales are known for their moderate alcohol content, making them a perfect choice for social gatherings, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying a few beers without the fear of overindulgence.
  • Balanced Flavour Profile: Despite their lower alcohol content, session ales maintain a balanced and flavourful profile. Brewers often focus on using a combination of malt, hops, and yeast to create a beer that is both refreshing and satisfying.
  • Approachable Bitterness: Session ales tend to have a more moderate bitterness compared to some of their hop-centric counterparts, making them more appealing to a broader audience.
  • Versatility: One of the key advantages of session ales is their versatility. Breweries can experiment with various styles, such as pale ales, IPAs, or even lagers, while still adhering to the lower ABV characteristic of session beers.
  • Refreshing: Designed for easy drinking, session ales are often described as quaffable and refreshing. This quality makes them an excellent choice for warm weather, picnics, or casual gatherings.

Why have session ales recently become more popular?


The rise in popularity of session ales can be attributed to a shift in consumer preferences within the beer community. As more people explore the diverse world of craft beer, there is a growing demand for options that allow for extended enjoyment, without the effects of high alcohol content.

Session ales have emerged as a solution to this demand, providing a gateway to craft beer, while maintaining the interest of seasoned drinkers.

Does the Badger Brewery make any session ales?


Yes – the team has been innovating and brewing a new session ale at the Badger Brewery to join the Badger line-up. And it’s finally available to buy!

Introducing the Portland Poster – a copper-coloured 3.4% session ale with a balanced bitterness and earthy nature. Fresh and easy-drinking, with a malty, hoppy character, this brand-new beer really is the whole package.




*Please Drink Responsibly.


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