Note: Another version of this review was posted but seems to have disappeared from the site.
When you say “I could really use a beer,” what is it about the beer that you’re looking for? Is it a particular type of beer? A particular flavor? Or just the idea of the beer? Beer means so many different things to so many different people, yet it seems like a universal sentiment to say “I could really use a beer.”
I bring this up because I personally, and loudly, just uttered those words. The beer I reached for was Banner’s American Ale. Banner’s name, label and whole ethos lacks any of complexity-cum-pretentiousness that craft beer has become known for (rightly and wrongly depending on the beer/brewer/voice in question).
This American Ale is a paltry 3.4% ABV, making it more sessionable than mostsession beers. That said, the flavor on this beer is more potent than what I’m used to from beer’s twice its weight; not really, unless that beer is Bud Light Platinum, but this is a very robust flavor for such a light beer. The aroma and flavor are both malt-forward without being sweet (there are notes of caramel as well). There’s a biscuity/bready character to the smell and taste that is pleasant and inviting. But the malts are not alone; the there is a spicy hop character to this beer as well that balances out the malts with a firm, if light, bitterness. You will not mistake this beer for a red IPA, but that’s a good thing.
It’s a pretty beer, with a amber color that is fairly bright and clear for what I’m assuming is an unfiltered ale. Carbonation is good, with a thin white head that didn’t leave much lacing on my pint glass. The mouthfeel is light without being watery.
Final Verdict: I really like this as a session beer. I am amazed that a beer this light can have such a strong flavor. The flavor isn’t complex, but you don’t always want that in a beer, especially one you plan to drink 6 of (I only have the one, but I wouldn’t see an issue putting down a bunch of these). This is an excellent summer/”lawn-mower” beer. It’s a beer I’d recommend to most folks, especially to the Bud/Miller/Coors crowd who like a light beer, but might want a little (a lot!) more flavor.