I recently had the honor to meet Santa Claus for an interview at an undisclosed location sitting down in front of a cozy fireplace. He was impeccably dressed in red and his perfectly groomed beard glistened like the snowflakes falling as we talked.
GR: Thank you very much Santa Claus for taking the time out of your schedule to sit down and chat with me. I know it’s the busiest time of year for you so I truly appreciate it.
SC: It’s my pleasure!
GR: So tell me Santa, how busy do you get around this time of year?
SC: Have you seen Amazon’s warehouses and distribution centers?
GR: Yes, on television, it’s quite an operation.
SC: Well our elves, reindeer and myself are 100 times busier than that if you can believe it!
GR: Oh my! What gets you through it all as you’re going down the chimneys of the world and quietly placing presents under the tree?
SC: Well the excitement of course does keep my energy up and having wonderful companionship of the reindeer certainly helps too. I don’t know what I’d do without them. The cookies and milk that the children leave for me gives me the needed protein and sugar rush but as you can see my belly gets quite full halfway through the night!
GR: Are there any other food or drink choices that you think might help too?
SC: I do so enjoy beer, so I would encourage parents to leave me a table or session beer with some pretzels.
GR: I had no idea you enjoyed beer Santa!
SC: That I do. My round tummy is not just from the cookies and milk [chuckling as he rubs his belly]!
GR: Could you tell me more about table and session beers? What are they?
SC: Well, Gloria, they are basically beers with lower alcohol content but plenty of flavor. They are not non-alcoholic beers such as O’Douls that you have in the U.S.
GR: Please tell me more about them if you don’t mind.
SC: No trouble at all, my dear. Basically table beers are lower in alcohol (around 1 to 2% ABV- alcohol by volume) compared to session beers (usually 4.5% ABV or a little less). If I drank anything higher in alcohol on Christmas I wouldn’t be able to do my job! These beers are a perfect break from country to country and are wonderful for conviviality with others.
GR: Santa, do you know why they’re named “table” and “session” beers?
SC: From what I’ve gathered “table beers” come from the Flemish word “tafelbier” from Belgium. According to beer writer Joshua M. Bernstein, table beers are “affable companions to lunch, dinner or wherever you crave a beer but not a buzz.” I couldn’t agree more. I love being Santa Claus and it is very important for me to stay on schedule with so many children to surprise on Christmas morning. Even Santa craves a beer once in awhile!
GR: What about “session” beers, do you know anything about them?
SC: Well besides the higher alcohol content than a table beer, there really is no strict definition of what a session beer is. My little helpers have told me that in the U.S., The Brewers Association is still working on a definition. So it isn’t one particular style of beer, there are many styles. One of my favorites is Stone’s Go To IPA, which is such a delightful beer to drink at only 4.8% ABV!
GR: That sound great, Santa! So basically if someone says that a beer is “sessionable,” they are referring to its easy drinking because of the lower alcohol content, am I correct?
SC: Why indeed you are! There are beers made by some breweries that are extremely high in alcohol that they should be savored slowly, and others that are made with the grown up children (in their early 20s; to me you are always my children of the world!) in mind to drink as quickly as possible so as to engage in bacchanalia in its fullest form!
GR: Wow Santa, I didn’t realize how much you know about beer! Not only do the children of the world look forward to your arrival and leave you cookies and milk, I promise to leave you a session beer and a bowl of pretzels.
SC: Why thank you my dear, that is very kind of you.
GR: I know you have lots to do, so thank you very much for your time; I’ve really enjoyed this conversation!
SC: As have I my child, it was a pleasure speaking with you and I hope your adult readers try some session or table beers this year. It is very important to be safe during this holiday season and these beers don’t compromise taste at all. It is my wish that they enjoy these beers and have a merry season! Cheers! [raises a goblet]
GR: I’ll drink to that! Cheers!