Tuesday 23 February 2010

Session beer

I was back in the lakes at the weekend, meeting up with a load of friends in Braithwaite. Though we were out in the hills for the day I knew this was going mean long sessions in the pub in the evening. So what I needed was session beer. Nowadays for me this means something less than 4% ABV. I’ve heard that at this strength you can even rehydrate on the beer which is a bonus after a hard day’s heroism (we had to put on crampons and everything!). 

We were in the Royal Oak, which means Jennings beers. Jennings aren’t bad if you get the infernal sparkler removed but they’ve suffered some tribulations of late. The brewery in Cockermouth was flooded out and production temporarily moved to somewhere else in the “Marston’s” empire. Production has recently resumed at Cockermouth so it was unclear exactly whether the beer we were drinking had been brewed in the Lake District or the midlands. Either way it seemed a bit below par.

For Friday night I drank Jennings Bitter (3.5% ABV) for most of the night, with only a modest amount of Sneck Lifter (5.1% ABV) at the end of the night as I wasn’t pissed enough to keep out the Winter chill. Despite its low strength Jennings bitter has a lot of flavour and I prefer it to its paler brothers Cumberland and Cockerhoop. Though a lot of beer bloggers like to complain about ‘boring brown bitter’ I find the profusion of pale thin beers more of a problem.

Drinking a session beer at a sedate pace for most of the evening worked a treat for getting up mountains the next morning without too much trouble. Things didn't work quite as well the following night as my drinking rate crept up a bit, and I moved on to the stronger beer a bit earlier with inevitable results. Still, on the plus side I did get pissed quicker.  

Balancing the need to control your intake with your desire to get pissed is a tricky one. And lets face it the desire to get pissed usually wins, but session beers have their use when there's things to be done the next day. 


  1. The snow is great at the moment, isn't it?

  2. It certainly is. Best winter I've had in the lakes, not back til Easter now though :-(

  3. The Middle Ruddings is about 400m away if you're fed up of Jennings.

  4. I'll check it out when I'm next in Braithwaite.