If 2014 was the Summer of the Radler, shandy and other low-alcohol fruity beer concoctions, 2015 is most assuredly the Summer of the Session Beer. The fuse to this year’s obsession was lit in 2012, when Founders released its All Day IPA and drinkers went crazy for a beer that’s light and drinkable, but with a wallop of hoppy flavor.
All Day is now Founders’ top seller, and many large-scale craft brewers followed suit with sessions of their own. We rounded up 14 of them, including some from Chicago breweries, which provides a good cross section of what you’ll see on shelves around Chicago this summer. Then a tasting panel of four tried them all, with nary a buzz—"session" means you can drink these beers over the course of an afternoon without feeling it too much, thanks to a low ABV. While the lineup of sessions was pretty solid on the whole, there were five clear standouts, which you’ll want to seek out for your next summer party.
RECOMMENDED: Chicago craft beer guide