Beer Brawl™ 30 – Session Beer Challenge

Beer Brawl™ 30 was the brain child of Kevin Malavarca from the Liquor Outlet in Boonton NJ. Since we are right around the corner from the Super Bowl, what better way to prepare then to figure out what is the best session beer. The Session Beer Challenge, each of us brought our two favorite session beers to the table for a winner take all (bragging rights) challenge.beerbrawl30_1

Joining me on this podcast was Kevin Malavarca from the Liquor Outlet in Boonton NJ, John Hoyos from Hunterdon Distribution, and Jim Galligan from the Beer and Whiskey Brootherhood. The only prerequisite I have for the Beer Brawl™ is a love of beer.  You don’t need to know anything about the beers we are drinking only a willingness to try them and voice an opinion.


As usual we have a podcast of The Beer Brawl™ ready for download:

Listen to the Podcast (38:56, It’s 7 beers!)

or download it from iTunes

Subscribe to Podcast thru iTunes

On Tap:

  • Left Hand Sawtooth
  • Victory Lager
  • Victory Prima Pils
  • Avery Redpoint Ale
  • Anchor Steam
  • Troegs Pale Ale
  • Stone Levitation

Download the podcast and listen to all the details about how these Wild Beers stacked up against each other. But if you don’t have time to listen, here are some Tasting notes:

Left Hand Sawtooth (Kevin)

This first beer of the night was a 4.7% abv ESB. The Sawtooth had a nice caramel malt aroma with some decent hops.  A Fairly decently balanced beer we thought, buttery and bready but left us a bit flat on the finish.  We all enjoyed this beer, very representative for the style.

Victory Lager (Kevin)

This beer clocks in at 5.2% abv.  The appearance of this beer left something to be desired, looked like mountain dew.  Although, it smelled and tasted like German Hellas lager, good and crisp, slight noble hop influence. This would be a great beer for all those Bud, Miller, Coors drinks you might have over.

Victory Prima Pils (Peter)

One of the most popular of the night, the Prima Pils weighed it at 5.3%abv.  It was significantly more hoppy then a traditional pils, but it was very smooth and crisp with a bitter hop finish. A delicious Pilsner that you must try.


Avery Redpoint Ale (John)

Another favorite of the night, coming in just under the wire at 5.5% was Avery’s big malt bomb of a session beer.  Beer also had a pretty significant hop profile balancing out the malt nicely. While it looked and smelled like a full bodied beer it was fairly light and easy to drink.

Anchor Steam (Jim)

This California Common comes in at 4.7% abv.  Unfortunately for Anchor Steam, it was probably the least favorite of the bunch.  Very fruity nose, sweet with a fairly dry finish.  Lacked a lot in flavor compared to the previous beers.  But, by no means was it a bad beer; it was very drinkable.

Troegs Pale Ale (Jim)

The consensus best beer of the night.  Great aroma on this 5.4% abv English pale ale.  Well balanced hoppy, malty, biscuit beer.  It had a great finish.  This beers, aroma, flavor, and mouth feel was the complete package out of all the beers in this challenge.

Stone Levitation (Peter)

A very big nose, like a bold IPA, but with a very light mouth feel.  Kevin described this beer as “Baby Bastard”.  It was like the baby/light version of Arrogant Bastard.  The one issue we had was the end dropped out on the beer.

I’m working on future Beer Brawls™, we have a High Octane, Dogfish Head, and Porter Beer Brawls™ coming up. We’d also love to hear your suggestions!


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12 Responses to “Beer Brawl™ 30 – Session Beer Challenge”

  1. Derek Says:

    Great read Peter (and others) looking forward to watching at home. I love to find good session beers, especially come baseball season. I love drinking beer and often multiple beers. But I also like walking. Cheers!

  2. Simply Beer Says:

    Thanks Derek. There are a lot of good beers under 6% abv! Enjoy!

  3. Jim Says:

    Thanks for letting me play along on this one, Peter. Finding a great session beer is a terrific thing, and I think I found a couple of new ones from doing this podcast with you and the boys.

    The best part for me was that I brought the Troeg’s Pale Ale. Not because it was the consensus favorite, but because the remainder of the six pack is now in my garage! I know what I’ll be drinking during the Super Bowl…

  4. Simply Beer’s Session Beer Challenge « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Says:

    [...] check out the Beer Brawl Podcast page on Peter’s site to see what we had, what we thought, and to download the [...]

  5. Kevin M Says:

    The problem I’m having, Jim, is to decide which one I’m going to be drinking for Super Bowl!!! That Troegs Pale was really a gem… just hiding out amongst other beasts–even other beasts from its own brewery! Hopback and Nugget Nectar may steal the show, but everyone should sit down with that Pale Ale.

  6. Simply Beer Says:

    @jim, your welcome anytime. Great pick BTW!

    @kevin, I don’t think we should let jim back again after up staging us with that wonderful troegs pale ale :-)

  7. Jim Says:

    @ Simply Beer, wow, talk about your mixed messages! :)

    I was just lucky enough to have run across the Troegs before you guys. I think any one of us would have brought it if we all knew about it. That’s the great thing about your Beer Brawls – listen, learn and grow.

  8. Simply Beer Says:

    @Jim – LOL! Actually I can’t remember ever having the Troeg’s PA Before. Had most of their beers, you get the Braggin Rights for this Brawl! Until the next time MuahahahaHA!

  9. Kevin M Says:

    I already know who gets bragging rights on the “High Octane” brawl… MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  10. Simply Beer Says:

    @kevin – Yes you get the Props on the next Beer Brawl! I need to find a Designated driver for that one.

  11. Scott-TheBrewClub Says:

    Nice job guys! One of these days I’ll make one of these Beer Brawls!

  12. Simply Beer Says:

    @scott – one of these days you’ll not be working on a brawl night :-)

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