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Oliver and the Pint team up for session ale, session event

In a world full of collaboration brews, your brewery’s collaboration had better be a breakthrough, or at least, taste delicious out of a firkin. At the very least I can say the fourth collaboration between Meridian Pint and Oliver Ale will taste fantastic out of a firkin.

The beer, brewed in honor of the upcoming session evening, will debut at Meridian Pint on Thursday, October 27. At their session event, Meridian Pint will be pouring 24 beers all at 5% ABV or under.

The forthcoming boundary-straddling pale ale was brewed with Halcyon pale, Caramalt, Crystal 45 and wheat malts. The hop schedule features Target and East Kent Goldings for bittering, Centennial for a late hop addition followed by American Liberty and Fuggles loaded in the hopback. The beer will also be dry hopped with Liberty and Fuggles. The finished product will clock in around 4.5% ABV.

Oliver Ales, house brand of The Pratt Street Alehouse, began distributing kegs and casks to the District last October. As we approach the year anniversary, demands for Steve Jones’ ale have risen. The amount of collaborations Jones played host to have also increased with notable breweries and establishments including Stillwater, 3 Stars, Brewer’s Art, Meridian Pint and Punk’s Backyard Grill.

One of the perks of writing for DCBeer.com is that occasionally you get to tag along on a brewday. If you’re really lucky you get to shovel spent grain or unload a pallet full of 55 lb malt sacks. Of course there isn’t a better scenario than showing up for a brewday and having a rare-beer-tasting session break out, which is exactly what happened last Friday.

While Meridian Pint’s Assistant Beer Director, Timothy Pendergast, and I professed our love for session beers, the majority of beers during our impromptu tasting tended to be in the double, triple and quad range (Mikkeller & BrewDog’s Divine Rebel, two BrewDog Paradoxes, one aged in a 1987 Macallan Sherry Cask, the other in a 1970 Glen Grant whiskey cask, just to name a few). While on the topic of session beers and the ongoing conversation of what percentage a session beer starts at, Steve and Tim began discussing differences in English and American beer culture.

When Steve worked at the Firkin Brewery in the UK there was a contest amongst pub patrons to see who could down the most pints of the strongest house beer in an hour (in this case the get-loose-juice was a strong, 5.6% ale). Many patrons struggled through 3 pints in an hour. The mention of a 5.6% ABV beer being the strongest ale an English pub had to offer spoke volumes about American beer drinking and brewing.

As experienced beer geeks know, just because a beer is high in alcohol does not mean it is good. Conversely, just because a beer is low in alcohol does not mean it is low in flavor. As brewers across the country begin to brew ales that are lower in alcohol (but richer in taste and complexity), better beer bars across the country will begin to honor them. DMV session ale fans should be sure to mark Thursday, October 27th on their calendars.

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