There are two odd pieces of writing out in the beer press right now. Sam Calagione wrote a response to my last "Steaming Pile" column in Ale Street News, the column in which I opined that 'imperial' beers, while riding high, may be coming to the end of their cycle on top of the beer hype wheel. In Beeradvocate magazine, the Alström brothers' "Beer Smack" column was titled "Session vs. Extreme Beers."
In both pieces, the desire and nascent movement to popularize session beers was portrayed as being planned at the expense of extreme/imperial beers, implying a wish and a hope for failure of big beers. To make things short and clear, that's ridiculous. There is no versus in the equation. I don't speak for everyone, obviously, but speaking for myself and nearly everyone I've talked to about session beers, we'd love to see all types of craft beers thrive. I can't imagine why anyone would feel differently. This is not about taking away anything. This is about the classic image of the craft beer market: not a bigger slice of the pie, but a bigger pie.
The last thing we need is a trumped-up "fight" between segments of the beer biz. We had enough of that with the Sam Adams wars in the 1990s. There's nothing to fight about here. I'd like to see session beers get more attention from the beer press, and from beer drinkers, and from brewers. I'm doing what I can to help that along because I'd like more choice when I go out to drink. I'm not doing it to bash extreme beers, to benefit one brewer over another, or to make money for myself; believe me, The Session Beer Project ain't a moneymaker. Like Rodney says, can we all get along? There's no reason to make it look any other way.