While Andy doesn't quibble with the worthy goal of having some good-tasting lighter beers available, he thinks that the Session label might be misleading, since most of us don't have the same pub-drinking culture as exists in the British Isles. In his own words:
In adopting the session moniker as opposed to simply calling their efforts a campaign for lower-alcohol beers, these brewers face target consumers who are not given to long stints in the pub or hours of uninterrupted drinking. Our drinking culture is goal oriented: have a beer to accompany a meal or fill a short window of time after work and before a commute.
His article is a good read, check it out.
Reading it as I returned from vacation in Europe, it made me reflect on the beer-drinking culture I'd seen in Amsterdam and Belgium. The beers were not low-alcohol -- that's a 10% Westvleteren in the picture above -- but serving sizes were generally very small: often 25 cl (less than 8.5 ounces) or 33 cl (less than 11.25 ounces). Instead of simply beating the drum for lower ABV beers, maybe we need to start calling for lower alcohol servings. If it's a lighter beer, the serving can be larger; if it's a higher-gravity beer, serve it in an appropriate volume.
Now, I've been known to scream for Honest Pints almost as loudly as anyone. In Portland, that started off more or less as a push for bigger glassware -- the 20-ounce glasses popular at several of the finer pubs in town. In my mind, though, the emphasis should be on Honest, not Pint, which to me means draft beer is served in glassware with marked volume lines, as it is everywhere in Europe. That way you know that you received exactly what you paid for. So "smaller serving" does not contradict "honest pint" -- it just requires marked glassware.
What do you think? Is it worth calling for smaller beers? Or just smaller glasses?