Seasonal beers give craft brewers a good excuse to stretch their legs and create something different from their flagship brews. And while there are a few established spring beer styles, – like maibock, a type of strong German lager, or bière de mars, a light Belgian-style ale – many brewers just use this time of year as an excuse to play with medium and light bodied styles.
Here are seven great beers to help you celebrate spring and the events that come with it:
Anchor Saison Spring Ale, Anchor Brewing Company (7% abv)
A new beer for Anchor and only available in California, this Belgian-style saison was brewed with traditional wheat malt and Belgian yeast, but Anchor added lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger to crank up the tangy crispness and herbal spiciness. A definite qualifier as the official beer for this year’s Bring Your Own Big Wheel Race.
Spring Reign, Ninkasi Brewing Company (6% abv)
Ninkasi calls this one their interpretation of a Northwest Pale. It has a light toasted malt flavor similar to a British Pale, but the hops are bright and very Northwest. This year’s recipe has a bit more alcohol and higher IBUs because, Ninkasi!
California Spring Beer, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery (5.2%)
This grassy and citrusy wheat beer uses a blended fermentation of Belgian and American yeast strains. The beer is also dry hopped with Calypso and Zythos hops. This combination makes for a light, bright and floral session beer. The wheat gives the beer both body and tartness, while the hops add a juicy orange and grapefruit bite.
Saison de Lente, The Bruery (6.5% abv)
The Bruery’s seasonal spring release is a blonde saison with a dose of Brettanomyces thrown in to balance the bright floral hop notes with some earthy funkiness.
Fresh Squeezed IPA, Deschutes Brewery (6% abv)
Many beer drinkers who don’t care for IPAs enjoy this one. While there’s no juice in this beer, the Citra and Mosaic hop profile is so citrusy that you might think there is. Now available year-round.
Aprihop, Dogfish Head Brewery (7% abv)
This American IPA is a spring seasonal, brewed with Pilsner and Crystal malts and fresh apricots added during fermentation. Dogfish Head then dry hops with lots of Amarillo. There’s no residual sweetness from the fruit, just a pleasant background aroma.
A new spring seasonal from The Lost Abbey, Agave Maria is a strong ale brewed with agave nectar, and then aged in both Anejo and Reposado tequila barrels for 10 months. Agave Maria has hints of black pepper, sugar, silky oatmeal, and oak with an earthy, bitter smoked chocolate finish. The perfect beer for this Easter’s Hunky Jesus Contest, which by the way has been moved to Golden Gate Park this year since Dolores Park is being renovated.