Red, White, and Brewed | Spring Beer

Spring is an interesting time for beer. Depending on where you live in the country, spring is either in full bloom, just starting, or you are taking a step back into winter, sitting around a campfire with bitter cold temperatures and late season snow flurries. Because of these variations in weather, there is a myriad of different beer styles that are perfectly suited for this time of year. There’s still room for the stouts and porters on some of the chilly days, but flavors are moving closer to saisons, farm house ales and pale ales before finally reaching IPA’s when there’s absolutely no doubt about seeing bright green grass when you peek outside your window.

New Belgium is well-known for its seasonal offerings. This year, they unveiled the Portage Porter. “Spring beers are fun challenges to develop,” says New Belgium Brewer Cody Reif. “Since seasonality in beer styles are anchored in Summer and Winter, Spring and Fall are transition seasons so there’s a lot of room for interpretation and creativity.”

Reif really likes beers that bridge the gap between the more robust flavors in a winter beer and the brighter flavors generally seen in Summer beers. “This is a great spot for malt and yeast forward beers with moderate alcohol and complex but subtle aromas from hops and even spices,” He adds, “That being said, the most important rule in brewing is that there are no rules. It can be fun to make a unique beer for a season that flies in the face of convention.”

He holds to the ideal that quality in Spring beer is king. “Regardless of how season appropriate a beer is, if it isn’t well-made with balance and a solid composition, it isn’t going to fly. That’s true of all seasons and beers.”

Portage Porter (New Belgium)

This porter comes in at a robust 6% ABV and 24 IBUs. Initial scents of freshly roasted coffee, chocolate are followed by malts and a strong hop finish without much bitter flavor. This is a great beer to drink while there is still a chill in the air.

Long Hammer IPA (Red Hook)

Brewed since 1984, Long Hammer is a refreshing, 6.2% ABV IPA that has a massive hops presence due to the addition of hops during the process of fermentation as well as afterwards. It’s undeniably one of the smoothest, most drinkable, least bitter IPAs on the market and is perfectly suited for late spring through early fall.

Oberon (Bell’s)

This 5.8% ABV Wheat Ale is available March through Labor Day. It has Bell’s signature house yeast, but it’s mixed with myriad different hops to create a fresh, floral, fruity beer that is the perfect beer to imbibe while sitting on a front porch on a warm, breezy evening.

Down To Earth (21st Amendment)

This session IPA is a very drinkable 4.4% ABV so you won’t have to worry about tossing a few back while flipping burgers in the back yard. It has the hop aroma of a heavily hopped brew, but doesn’t batter you with hop flavor and bitterness.

Superfuzz (Elysian)

This is one of the most interesting spring beers widely available. This 5.4% ABV Blood Orange Pale Ale (yes, you read that right) is available from April to July and is perfectly paired with an evening of late spring, early summer lawn darts.

Other notable intriguing spring beers include: Aprihop (Dogfish Head), Palate Wrecker (Green Flash), Fresh Squeezed IPA (Deschutes), Glimmerglass (Ommegang) Kentucky Breakfast Stout (Founders).

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