The great thing about living in New England is that we have seasons. With seasons come seasonal brews. I love spring seasonal beers because spring seems to have the widest variety of ales and lagers. There are some big beers for the cool early spring evenings and crisp wheat beers and pale ales for those scorching afternoons.
The following beers are not in any type of ranking order. This is not a top 10 list. This is a list of beers that should be on your Spring drinking syllabus. If you find a beer on the list that you like, try to find more of that style or other offerings from that particular brewer.
Most of these beers are seasonal; the Harpoon Brewing Company and Sam Adams beers are a onetime offering. Thus making this list 10 Beers You Must Try This Spring. You may never have a chance to try them again. So without further delay here are your top spring acquisitions:
Two Brothers Monarch White – This is a great offering for those hotter days. This Belgian-style White is brewed with “a touch of oats” giving this beer a crisp light finish. This is perfect for those scorching Spring days doing yard work. This Anniversary ale is brewed once a year in small batches making it tricky at best to find.
Harpoon Single Hop ESB – This 31st offering from the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series is being bottled as I am writing this so there isn’t too much I can tell you about the beer. Knowing Harpoon will be true to the style I am sure this will be an awesome session beer. Making this more appealing is the single hop this is being brewed with is “Delta”. Delta is a new hybrid hop that is a cross between Fuggle and Cascade hops. This single hop beer will give us a great opportunity to isolate not only the aromas but also the bitterness of this new hop.
Dogfish Head Aprihop – One of my spring staples. This American IPA brewed with apricots tips the scales at 7% ABV. The nice thing about this ale is the apricots are not overwhelming. Dogfish Head add just enough to have the apricots subtly compliment the hops and malt in this beer. I make a reduction with equal parts of Dogfish Head Aprihop and Open Pit Barbeque sauce to brush on my grilled chicken and ribs. My friends have described it as world class.
Port Brewing Hot Rocks – This early spring offering from Port Brewing is a must for any beer drinker. The ingredients in this offering are not so unique; what they do in the brewing process is. Port Brewing drops glowing hot granite to the kettle during the boil. This caramelizes the sugars in the wort creating some fantastic toffee, coffee and smoked tones to this beer. This is one of the most complex lagers I have ever enjoyed.
Michelob Ginger Wheat – This new offering from Michelob shows AB’s commitment to continue to deliver unique premium beers to consumers. Ginger Wheat is only available in the Wheat Sampler Pack. To date AB has done a great job with the Michelob line I am very eager to see what they do with this Belgium offering.
Oskar Blues Gubna – Hop bliss in a can. This 100 IBU, 10% ABV monster is perfect to warm up with on a rainy chilly spring day. This beer would be perfect for those chilly nights in the Fenway bleachers, I hope Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is reading this column and picks up Oskar Blues for the 2010 season. If you want a high end beer for the golf course or those spring outings this is your beer.
Stone Levitation – I love this beer. It is the little guy on the Stone Brewing Company portfolio, at 45 IBUs it would be the big beer for the majority of brewers out there. The cool thing about Levitation is it only weighs in at 4.4% ABV making it a perfect session beer. This beer is robust enough for the coolest evening and crisp and light enough for the hottest day.
Gordon Biersch Maibock – Spring is the season for bock beers. When I think of a good lager I think of Gordon Biersch. All of their lagers are world class the Maibock is no exception. This beer is not for the faint of heart weighing in at 7.3% ABV. Gordon Biersch’s interpretation of this style has beautiful dark roasted caramel flavors and a slight malt sweetness that balances off of the hops perfectly.
Sam Adams LongShot Mile High Barley Wine Ale – This is a classic interpretation of the American style of this ale. There is a huge malt aroma on this beer and a bit of alcohol in the nose. This hop monster weighs in at almost 10% ABV making it a perfect beer to crack around the fire pit. The beer has great dark fruit over tones and vinous characteristics.
Founders Double Trouble – One of my favorite styles brewed by one of my favorite brewers make this one of my favorite beers. I cannot stress how much I love Double Trouble. This Imperial India Pale Ale is sold in 4 packs of 12 ounce bottles. It’s 9.4% ABV and 86 IBU’s allows me to buy a case of this nectar to ration through the spring and summer months. This beer is actually big enough to lay down for a couple of years.
That is it in a nutshell. I think this list will carry you through to the summer months. These beers represent great session beers, malty fireside sippers and hop bombs that will rip the coating off of your tongue. These are without a doubt the 10 Beers You Must Drink This Spring.