Spring: Beer’s Uncertain Season

Scott Biely

scott biely | what i like about brew | march 2019

The Brewers have taken up residency in Arizona, ham deals are everywhere, and bracketology is the most popular science around. That's right folks, it's spring. That time of year sandwiched between bitter cold and swampy hot, filled with some of my favorite events of the year. MLB Opening Day, the NCAA Tournament and Easter brunch always bring a smile to my face. Throw in St. Patrick's Day and the Masters and I'm all set.

While the special occasions are guaranteed aplenty, the weather is as far from a sure thing as “A Madea's Family Funeral” winning best picture.

One year we can be golfing Easter Saturday and the next shoveling the 15 inches winter storm Richard dumped on us. The uncertainty of March and April bring with it an unknown as to what beers you will need for all of spring's activities. Here are some beers I feel fit whatever spring in Wisconsin has to offer.

Maibock

Capital Brewery (Middleton, Wis.)

Maibock/Helles Bock

6.2 percent ABV

If you are looking for a beer style that defines spring, look no further than bock beers. A deep amber color and a well-balanced but dominant malt presence are what you can expect from the staple of the spring seasonal lineup. The maibock style is traditionally lighter in color but offers a very similar experience to that of a bock. When choosing a bock/maibock I always go with a brewery that has a great track record on traditional German lagers. Capital Brewery has that track record.

Capital Maibock pours a rich golden color and brings with it a sweet malty aroma. The taste is filled with caramel and toasted malts and a medium mouthfeel. The beer is balanced nicely and there is little to no bitterness to speak of. Capital Maibock truly is what a spring style is meant to be.

Stilt Stepper

Copper State Brewing (Green Bay, Wis.)

New England Style IPA

5.6 percent ABV

With the amount of new beers being released daily, it's easy to see why trends in popular beer styles change so often. Currently one of the most popular styles on the market is the New England Style IPA. This style is defined by its hazy appearance, creamy mouthfeel and what I would describe as a strong hop bitterness that has been muzzled. These beers offer a big hop build with a clean finish.

Copper State Brewing's Stilt Stepper is one of my favorite New England Style IPAs currently on the market. The beer pours a hazy golden color with a slight orange hue. The aroma is full of citrus hops and the taste follows suit. A nice balance allows this beer to offer a clean finish after a punch of hop flavor. From Opening Day to March hoops, Stilt Stepper from Copper State is a perfect fit for all the great sports spring has to offer.

Gentry's Rose Hard Cider

One Barrel Brewing Company (Madison, Wis.)

Rose Hard Cider

5.0 percent ABV

Another craft option that has become more prevalent over the last decade is the hard cider category. Retail shelves are stocked full of options ranging from bone dry to rot-your-teeth sugary. I prefer a cider that is slightly sweet and allows me to drink more than one. One Barrel Brewing's Gentry's Rose Hard Cider offers a semi-sweetness that doesn't put your stomach in knots.

One Barrel Brewing takes their traditional Dry Hard Cider and adds Pinot grapes and Aronia berries to get a perfect level of sweetness. These additions are also what give this cider its rose color and sweet berry aroma. Whether at Easter brunch or your family's annual egg hunt, One Barrel's Gentry's Rose Hard Cider is the perfect pairing for the Easter holiday.

Summer Shandy

Leinenkugel Brewing Company (Chippewa Falls, Wis.)

Weiss Beer w/ Natural Lemonade Flavor

4.2 percent ABV

If you feel like winter and spring have beaten the hope of summer out of you. If you cannot take Mother Nature dangling another mid-60s carrot only to remind you days later what 20 degrees feels like, say the heck with it and start your summer early.

While the bikinis and speedos need to stay in hibernation for a few more months, Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy season has begun. The traditional Weiss (wheat) beer mixed with natural lemonade flavor makes this beer the perfect choice for summer or even the dreams of summer. Start your summer early and crack open a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy.

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