It occurs to me that both Widmer and Deschutes are currently releasing sessionable low-alcohol beers named or themed after rivers—in Deschutes case their 4% abv Deschutes River Ale is a true session beer, while Widmer’s Columbia Common Spring Ale is 4.7% abv (not quite a true “session beer” by Lew Bryson’s definition) and though named (at least in part) for the Columbia hops used in the beer, it also shares its name with and bears the image of the Columbia River on the label.
(This is one of the bottles that Widmer sent me recently.)
The “Common” of course refers to the “California Common” style though with Widmer I suspect it’s fair to say it has a PNW spin to it. Their description:
The Columbia Hop was near extinction when we brought it back to create this crisp, easy drinking common ale. With a rich amber hue, Columbia Common, the new spring seasonal release for 2013, has a mild grassy and spicy hop notes are complemented by a fruity character and clean finish brought on by the use of Hefeweizen and lager yeasts and unique malt bill. It’s the perfect beer for spring. Prost!
Appearance: Effervescent, clear copper-colored beer with a nicely-laced fluffy off-white head.
Smell: Clean and malty, with a nice grainy undertone and a touch of grassy-spicy hops. To my nose it has a nicely “archetypal” beer aroma. [By this I mean to my own sensibilities this triggers what to me what I think of as archetypal beer characteristics.]
Taste: Clean and super drinkable, with nice toasty, malty base tempered evenly with solid grassy-spicy and mild bitterness. Mellow and sessionable and tastes really good for what it is.
Mouthfeel: Lightly medium-bodied with a nice bitter(ish) finish and it’s really drinkable (goes down easy).
Overall: I like this, it’s thirst-quenching and almost a session beer and in general a very good “beer” to my internal archetype ideas (see above).