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3 Cheers For Small Beers


Anchor Small Beer

Our special anniversary edition lagerale weighs in at a massive 12% ABV with enough hops and malt to MELT YOUR FACE OFF!

These days, it seems like everyone has a special release beer that’s at least 9% ABV. I love them, don’t get me wrong, but what about something you can drink without having to go lie down on the couch? What about something that is…sessionable?

I went looking for something like this, and I found what’s called a “small beer”. It’s a beer that is made from the “second runnings” of a big beer like a barley wine (which would have an ABV greater than 8%). Second runnings just means that they make a second beer using the same grain that they used to make the first one. You get a beer with much less alcohol in it. It is not a baby version of whatever the grain was used to make first. Instead, it’s a brand new beer.

Anchor Brewing makes Anchor Small Beer. It’s 3.3% ABV and is the second runnings of their barley wine, Old Foghorn. In an age where everyone wants to go huge, I really dig this reversal of the trend. Anyone who makes the big beers can do it, and it only costs them time, hops, water, and yeast. I’d definitely like to see stuff like this from the likes of Firestone Walker, The Bruery, and The Lost Abbey.


  1. Alan Kropf | Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Small beer FTW! I’m into it!

  2. Brian Kropf | Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head did one with their Life & Limb. Their ultra-rare keg only small beer version of Life & Limb was called Limb & Life, and as you said, it was made from the second-runnings of Life & Limb. Tasting them side by side was really cool and they were worlds apart.

  3. JJ Bagley | Thursday, January 7, 2010

    One of the oldest craft brewers in the country still making it happen. Let the session begin.

  4. Scott Spolv | Thursday, January 7, 2010

    While a nice high ABV beer is nice once and awhile, I really do appreciate the low ABV beers that aren’t like drinking dirty dish water. Stone Levitation comes to mind but I’ve never actually heard about the Anchor small beer until now so I’ll have to give it a shot.

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