Looking (Hopelessly) for Real Session Beers in Dallas' Sea of High ABV

Categories: Brews News

Two years go I stumbled upon Petit Prince, a session ale with very low alcohol content brewed by the Jester King Brewery, outside of Austin. I used the discovery to launch a discussion on what makes beers sessionable, and why they were so hard to find.

Two weekends ago a trip to the Ginger Man introduced me to Brooklyn Brewery's new Half Ale, another session beer that clocks in at 3.4-percent ABV. I thought I'd use the pint to see how the session beer movement was coming along.

In short, it's not coming along at all. The availability of old favorite Petit Prince is withering, as Jester King Brewery shifts from distribution to on-site sales model. Ron Extract, who handles sales and nine-million other things for the brewery, recently told be the only way I'll find Jester King beers in Dallas is if they're tapped at a special event. And other than the Brooklyn Half Ale, there really haven't been any new additions, as far as I can tell that are available in Dallas.

Why do I care? Session beers are great because they allow you to quench your thirst with something that tastes delicious that won't knock you on your ass. There are plenty of times, say when my credit card bill arrives each month, when I want to go out and drop a 9-percent ABV Velvet Hammer on my brain, but sometimes I want a light beer for lunch that won't leave me with a need for an office hammock.

I set a threshold of 4.5-percent ABV (lots of brewers market beers as sessionable with a much higher octane, but you might as well be drinking a gin and tonic) and called a number of beer bars and beers stores around Dallas. The results were pretty dismal.

Brooklyn Half Ale (Pictured above)
Goes well with: Power tools, day-long soccer binges
Where to find it: Gingerman, Blind Butcher, Bottle Shop

Stiegl Raddler
Goes well with: Hot summer days, geriatric folks
Where to find it: Blind Butcher

Bud Light
Goes well with: Desperation, low-calorie diets
Where to find it: Everywhere

Obviously, the Bud Light bottle is a bit of a joke, but I think it's a shame that those looking for lower alcohol have to sacrifice flavor to such a degree -- especially when the craft brewing scene is experiencing such a renaissance.

If you see the Brooklyn Half on tap it's worth a try, and the Radler is a shandy, which dilutes beer with fruity soda to bring down the booze, but it's a refreshing (if sweet) summer beverage. But for now, here in Dallas, that's about all you've got.

Location Info


The Bottle Shop

2116 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

Blind Butcher

1919 Greenville Avenue, Dallas / Fort Worth, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Ginger Man Lakewood

6341 La Vista Drive, Dallas / Fort Worth, TX

Category: Music

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Founders All Day IPA comes in at 4.7%. 


Nice piece, and I hear you. I'm lucky enough to live in Philly, and when I was out last night, I had four draft locally-brewed choices at 4.5% and under. It will come; this is happening, and why not? Craft beer is about VARIETY. This is just more variety. No one wants to take away beers from the mix, we just want to add more. 

And that Stiegl is embarrassingly drinkable; the grapefruit gives it an edge that's pretty thirst-quenching.


What about Four Corners?  Their beers are usually in the 5-7% range, and easy to drink.  I'm going to be sipping on some Local Buzz later today.


Stone Go To IPA is 4.5%.


Amen.  Enough of the copy cat heavy malty beers.  How about someone brew a true west coast pale ale?

As a home brewer I know that heavy beers are easier to make, maybe that is it.

primi_timpano topcommenter

Guiness makes a draught that is 4.8%. Not bad for small beer.

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

When Im going to be watching soccer all day for the next month, I will drink bud light because there is no way I can last pounding down something from Lakewood or Peticolas or DEB over an 8 or 9 hr period


Lakewood's The Temptress is my session beer.



@Chubby_Kid He wants under 4.5% and I agree. Nothing wrong with 5-7% beers, they're good, but...not always what we want.


@JC14 Firestone Walker Easy Jack is also 4.5%, Stone Levitation Ale is 4.4%...

scott.reitz moderator

I drink it often, just for that reason.


@ScottsMerkin  Those 8 and 9 hour sessions are perfect for Pearl Light if you can find it. Pearl was, in my humble opinion, the best tasting cheap beer back in the day if you are looking for a bud/coors/miller light kinda beer. Pearl Light is like 2.2 ABV. You can drink that shit until your legs tire out from pissing so much.

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