Sipping a holiday-spiced stout in July or a light lager in December, at least for our Northern Hemisphere readers, may feel incongruent. Seasonal beer is meant to complement weather and the ensuing sensations. In colder months, a darker, higher ABV option suits best; while in summer, something ultra-light and refreshing quenches thirsts accentuated by heat. But, what falls in-between is left up to the drinker’s discretion. When spring hints at an appearance, breweries tease fruited iterations and flower-infused lagers, but “springtime beers” can be a number of things. Here are a few of our favorite options for this season.
Fruited or Sour
House of Fermentology’s Seurat Dot
A lesser-known legend in Burlington, Vermont’s brewing district is the House of Fermentology. They’re a blendery that produces 100% unfiltered, oak barrel aged, bottle-conditioned beers. Their most recent release, Seurat Dot, is a golden sour packed with passionfruit and lemon peel, all aged in oak. The acidity from the citrus combined with the crispness from the oak makes this a complex option for easy drinking.
Grimm Artisanal Ales’ Blackberry Orange Pop
Brooklyn, New York’s Grimm Artisanal Ales has been producing potent and delectable sours long before they had their own standalone brewery. The minds behind the beer “gypsy-brewed” their way to critical acclaim and then took it upon themselves to expand their roster of beers. But, their Pop! iterations never went away. This season’s edition, Blackberry Orange Pop!, is loaded with blackberries, orange peel and vanilla—and a sizeable amount of milk sugar. The result is a smooth and refreshing juice-like beer.
Freethought Beer’s Principia
Yet another Brooklyn brewery begins with an impressive sour. Freethought Beer, assisted by Twelve Percent Beer Project, is still circulating their first-ever release, Principia. This relatively golden sour boasts notes of fennel pollen, lemon, wildflower honey, milk sugar and a sizable dose of hops. It’s an excellent debut from the upstart.
Fernson Brewing Company’s Seed Series #035
Fresh off winning best brew at the third Annual Mash Madness competition, Fernson Brewing Company‘s Seed Series #035—one of the newest beers from their line of experimental iterations—seems to be here to stay. The bright red sour, fruited with pomegranate and hibiscus, is a slightly bitter and rich version of the popular style.
Stillwater Artisanal Ales’ Shaken Not Stirred Vol. 1
Stillwater has never been shy about its beer—in their massive roster are plenty of experimental recipes and excellent beers disguised by pop culture-referencing titles. The Drake-referencing Hopvine Bling is a fine example of the latter—it’s a dry-hopped Berliner Weisse with Sauvignon blanc grapes. But, Shaken Not Stirred puts it plainly: this is a nitro whiskey sour-inspired sour ale aged in oak with cherry, orange peel and lemon. The combination is unexpected and it definitely works.
Simple(r) and Refreshing
Threes Brewing’s Vliet
Craft beer’s sudden sense of restraint—in regard to the taming of their releases—has yielded some outstanding iterations of centuries-old recipes. Vliet, a take on a classic German pilsner by Threes Brewing, is light and refreshing and carries an overt roasted malt tone.
Cloudwater Brewing Company’s Helles Mandarina
This is another take on a traditional light German lager. Cloudwater Brewing Company‘s Helles Mandarina is certainly delicate, but it boasts a floral complexity too. With an ABV of 4.8%, this drink sits somewhere between a session beer and a single springtime treat.
Homage Brewing’s Cut Your Hair
The saison is beer’s most versatile style. Its most prominent notes range from black pepper to grass and hay, but it always—thanks to Brettanomyces—has a dry finish. It’s palate-coating, a bit barnyard-y and is delectable day or night, spring or winter. Homage Brewing‘s newest wild saison, Cut Your Hair, offers notes of pine and coriander.
Mikkeller NYC’s Queensfisher
Boasting gentle bitterness and slight citrus notes, Mikkeller NYC‘s new Queensfisher pilsner, made in partnership with Babu Ji, is a crushable classic without frills. If a straightforward pilsner is your preference, you’ll have a newfound favorite in this beer.