The older I get the more I appreciate a well done session beer. I love double IPAs and imperial stouts, but if I’m out with friends and having more than a beer or two it is nice to have a craft beer that is full on flavor and lower in alcohol. Banner Beer Company is a contract brewery based in Grafton, MA that focuses entirely on session beers that combine full flavor with low alcohol. Banner is headed by Todd Charbonneau, previously the long time head brewer of Harpoon. Banner makes a series of year-round and seasonal beers with the hope of developing a diverse and delicious profile of flavors from lighter beers. Banner Beer’s new winter seasonal is called All Nighter, a British style ESB (Extra Special Bitter). It combines a full malt character with traditional British hops.
Banner Beer All Nighter pours a clear deep copper with a mild off-white head. The smell is mild, with some aromas of baked bread and earthy hops. The taste starts with the medium malts, caramel and grain with touches of butter and roasted nuts. The hops provide nice balance, some pine and earthy notes and solid bitterness. The beer has a nice light mouthfeel, it’s very easy to drink but still full in flavor. At 4.5% ABV Banner Beer All Nighter is sessionable, low enough in alcohol so you can have more than a couple. The finish is a little malt flavor balanced by some bitterness that lingers on the tongue. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.