In recent years, American craft brewers have turned their attention away from heavy, high-alcohol beers in order to focus on session beers. Though the ABV limit for those brews is debated—some say 5%, others refuse to acknowledge beers that hit higher than 4.5%—one thing isn’t: a true session beer must be light enough so you can savor a few in one sitting, and flavorful enough to actually warrant drinking more than one. If you’re new to the concept, give these ten session beers a try—we guarantee you’ll be going back for seconds. (And probably thirds. Maybe fourths, too.)

Carton Brewing Boat Ale

Carton Boat Beer
ABV: 4.2%
Brewmaster Augie Carton crafted this beer with the goal of drinkers being able to throw a few back in one sitting, the hallmark of any good session ale. By combining German malts, Kölsch yeast and American hops, Carton has created a light brew that has the hoppy character of an American pale ale. And now that it’s available in cans, Boat Beer is easier to find (and drink) than ever. cartonbrewing.com

 

Founders All Day IPA

Founders All Day IPA
ABV: 4.7%
Session IPAs may be flooding the market now (and some beer geeks find the idea dubious, but that’s a whole other thing), but Founders was one of the first to create a heavily-hopped, low-alcohol beer. The pleasantly bitter concoction, made with Simcoe and Amarillo hops, quickly became the brewery’s best selling beer—considering how utterly drinkable they are, we’re not at all surprised. foundersbrewing.com

 

Stone Go-To IPA

Stone Go-To IPA
ABV: 4.5%
Stone already had one delicious low-alcohol ale in its roster—Levitation Ale, clocking in at 4.4% ABV—but wanted to create something more aggressively hoppy, yet still low-ABV. Enter this new brew, which debuted in March: Using a technique called “hop bursting,” where flavorings like Citra and Cascade are added at the end of the brewing process, there’s plenty of flavor without a metric ton of alcohol. stonebrewing.com

 

classique-stillwater

Stillwater Classique
ABV: 4.5%
When Stillwater’s Brian Strumke debuted a canned version of this Belgian-style beer at a New York City bar, he celebrated by shotgunning a can of the stuff. Before you blanch at the thought of doing that with a craft beer, we urge you to give Classique a try: Though it’s undeniably more complex than your standard Bud or Coors (or Natty Boh, the beloved beer in Strumke’s hometown of Baltimore), it’s as light and refreshing—and, yes, chuggable—as one of those classic brews. (It’s okay if you want to savor it, too.) facebook.com/stillwaterales

 

Dogfish Namaste

Dogfish Head Namaste
ABV: 4.7%
The Delaware brewery first made this Belgian-style witbier in 2009, but only started distributing it year-round earlier this year. And unlike most of Dogfish’s brews, you can drink more than one of these without getting a buzz right away, thanks to its sub-5% ABV. In traditional witbier style, the brewery infuses Namaste with flavorings like coriander and orange peel (and adds a twist with lemongrass), creating a subtly spicy, fresh beer. dogfish.com

 

Bikini Beer

Evil Twin Bikini Beer
ABV: 2.7%
Leave it to Evil Twin’s Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, known for crafting quirky beers with names like “Spicy Nacho” or “Justin Blåbær,” to create a session brew with a lower alcohol content than the average wine cooler. Though the can says it’s a “sissy beer,” there’s nothing weak about this well-balanced, grapefruit-tinged quaff. eviltwin.dk

 

Anchor Small Beer

Anchor Small Beer
ABV: 3.3%
Long before session beer became popular (heck, before craft beer went mainstream), San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing made this ale, inspired by English bitter brews. Using a traditional method of making two beers from one mash, the mild, malty brew is derived from the leftovers of Anchor’s Old Foghorn barleywine, a much higher ABV ale. anchorbrewing.com

 

Notch Brewing Session Ale

Notch Brewing Session Ale
ABV: 4.5%
Notch Brewing’s Chris Lohring might be the only American beer-maker focusing exclusively on session styles. His Massachusetts brewery (well, technically he’s a contract brewer—owning no facility, he makes beer at several spots in New England) produces several low-gravity brews, including a saison and a Czech-style pilsner; but it all started with this drink, a hoppy American pale ale. facebook.com/notch.brewing

 

Finback Double Sess
ABV: 4.5%
Straight out of a brand-new brewery in Glendale, Queens, this Belgian-style witbier is a light, slightly quirky interpretation of the style. It gets a hint of spice from the addition of ginger and Szechuan peppercorn, while chamomile buds lend a floral character. The brew is sweet, but not cloyingly so, and flavorful enough to justify having more than one pint. finbackbrewery.com

 

Bitter American beer

21st Amendment Bitter American
ABV: 4.4%
San Francisco’s 21st Amendment originally created this hoppy brew as a counterpoint to the heavy, high-alcohol stouts and barleywines that tend to dominate during the winter. But the pale ale was popular enough to warrant year-round status, and now you can find cans—a signature of the brewery—whenever you want. It’s just as good in warmer months. 21st-amendment.com