Session Beers Cover
Session Beers Cover

Anime Marathons & Session Beers

Some anime you watch in the same way you’d enjoy a fine glass of whisky – slow, and with contemplative revenance. Other series are just so damn fun that you can’t stop watching, like eating a box of Girl Scout cookies. So, what beer should you pair with your all day anime marathon – a session beer.

Anime and Beer All Day?

Anime fans usually refer to watching a complete series, or at least a large chunk of one, in one sitting as “marathoning”. With the dominance of streaming sites like Netflix marathoning is mainstream. Say you’re planning on marathoning an anime this weekend. You can’t expect to make it 6+ hours drinking high alcohol content beers, can you? While impressive if you could, I don’t recommend that you try. Plus, you probably won’t remember much of the day anyway. You need something lighter and lower in alcohol to ride alongside you for that marathon session.

Well, that’s where session beers come in. Yes, they are called session beers, and no, it’s not a coincidence. The name comes from the fact that the low alcohol content means you can have many without getting way too drunk. Of course, they didn’t have anime marathons in mind when they came into popularity, but they still fit this situation. We’re just replacing sports, or fishing, or some other recreational activity with anime. Not much of a change.

Session beers come in many different varieties, and most beer styles could conceivably have a sessionable version. Honestly, the only thing in common is the low alcohol content. This is great news though, since you can find a beer to fit your (and the anime you plan to watch’s) needs. From light to dark, malty to hoppy, and sweet to bitter, there are great options out there for your marathon. I’ve got a few examples below, along with anime to watch with them, but know that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Flywheel – Metropolitan Brewing

Although sitting at a little bit higher ABV (5%) than most session beers I recommend Flywheel, a pilsner made right here in Chicago, for a great sports anime beer. I don’t think Metropolitan Brewing gets as much love in this city as they deserve since they focus solely on lagers. However, everything they make is top notch. Their beers are always clean, full bodied and absolutely refreshing. Grab this pilsner, order a good pizza and marathon a thrilling shonen sports anime, like Kuroko no Basket. It’s the perfect beer + pizza + sports combo, with a dash of anime!

Lil Citra – Pipeworks Brewing

Pipeworks has quickly become one of the best breweries in Chicago, and Lil Citra is a great example of their brewing prowess. This below 5% “Session IPA” , as they call it, is no slouch on flavor and balance. It brings the boldness of a great IPA and doesn’t get you too soused in the process. A beer like this is a great companion to smart but exciting action series, like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Both provoke thought, but are not too deep that you get lost along the way.


Yes, Guinness. It’s a solid beer even outside of St, Patrick’s Day. Furthermore people don’t seem to realize is that despite its deep, dark color and creamy head, it’s actually only 4.2% ABV. That’s right, Guinness is closer to a light beer than it is to a full stout. But that’s great because you can enjoy the nice light chocolate notes the whole day through. This beer is perfect for an anime that’s a little bit more heady, like Ergo Proxy.

Lagers, pale ales, stouts – just about every beer under the sun can be made sessionable. Find the style you like, pick something at or under 5% ABV and sit back and enjoy a nice day of anime.