A Toast to Session Beers

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Originally published in the July/August 2005 issue of Zymurgy magazine In my e-mail inbox was a short note on a beer forum to which I subscribe: "With an Imperial IPA available [in a bar], who could possibly want a Vienna lager?" Succinct, to be sure, but not very practical. Imperial brews are wonderful and available in such varieties and quantities as to make one believe that we are at the gates of the promised land. For the most part, "imperializing" a brew can be as simple as increasing the strength by doubling the grain bill or otherwise generating an alcohol content of 8 to 10 percent by volume. But in the case of some particular imperials one might also expect to find an exceedingly high hop content (70 to 140 IBU) as a substitute for some of the…

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