In late 2010, after a few years of fighting between convenience and grocery stores, bottle shops and beer makers, the State of Colorado discovered -- much to its chagrin -- that it was illegal for restaurants and liquor stores to sell low-alcohol beer. That's right, citizens: Colorado was trying to get you hammered.
In 2011, the legislature drafted a bill that would once again allow restaurants and liquor stores to sell beer that was 4 percent alcohol by volume or less. Governor John Hickenlooper, a beer drinker himself, signed that bill at an Old Chicago in Lakewood.
While it's now legal to sell low-alcohol beer, not many of the state's craft brewers make anything less than about 5 percent ABV, and none that I could find make a beer that is 4 percent or lower. (If you know of one, spill it in the comments section below.)
Which may be a problem on Saturday, when an online group of beer aficionados known as the Session Beer Project (tagline: Thanks, I'll have another!) hosts Session Beer Day, a day that highlights beers under 4 percent. Here's how they describe it:
April 7th 1933 was the day Prohibition ended for beer drinkers, and America celebrated happily with oceans of beer...all of it 4% and less. AND THEY LOVED IT!
That's a perfect day to celebrate session beer, great-tasting craft-type beer at lower alcohol that you can enjoy in quaffing volumes. Session beer is about enjoying beer for what it brings: great conversation with friends old and new, the glow of "social lubrication," and great taste without walloping doses of alcohol so you can enjoy yourself without getting knee-walking stupid drunk. Keep it under 4.5% (or 4.0%, if you want to be historical), and make it a session.
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Pateros Brewing in Fort Collins doesn't package its beers, but it's gotten on board the Session Beer Day bandwagon; the brewery posted a note on the Session Beer Project website supporting the concept and mentioning its 3.1 percent Remittance Ale.
Of course, you can always celebrate the day by drinking a big old Colorado-style 8 percent beer. Just drink half of it.