Spring is the perfect time to string up the outdoor lighting and enjoy an evening under the stars with friends. The perfect complement to your get-together: beer. Springtime calls for a flavourful brew that’s lighter than a winter stout but still has enough weight to withstand cooler night temperatures. Here are four we feel fit the bill perfectly.
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale, California
America’s west coast loves its hops. This ale from renowned Sierra Nevada brewery mixes things up by undergoing a process called “wet hopping”, in which hops are transferred directly from the field to the kettle without being dried first. The result is a delightfully hoppy ale that strikes a perfect balance between strong flavours and drinkability. Track it down if you can.
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, Japan
My fondest memories of spring involve sipping sake underneath the cherry blossom trees in Tokyo’s Ueno Park. Rare Japanese microbrewery Hitachino Nest produces the next best thing – a sweet rice beer encompassing sake-like flavours and a +8% alcohol content that really packs a wallop. The four-packs may not come with a round-trip ticket to Narita, but if you’re looking for something different, this is your beer.
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Germany
Weihenstephan prides itself on being the world’s oldest continuously running brewery, meaning, among other things, they’ve had time to get their recipes right. This warm-weather favourite hits all the right notes for a wheat beer, pouring a hazy, bright orange with a thick head that tastes both simple and complex all at once. The perfect session weissbier, this one was meant for long days on the garden patio.
Capital Brewery Blonde Doppelbock, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin is a university town, and while students are still deep in their studies this month, you’re unlikely to find any dorm-sized mini fridge freezer without a six pack of blonde doppelbock in it. Each February, Madison’s tiny Capital Brewery holds an outdoor festival to mark the release of this German-style lager. Revelers celebrate with hot bratwurst and, bizarrely, a fish toss, but the real fun is had in the months to follow. The beer is only brewed through April, meaning you best get as much of its strong, malty flavour and sweet candy finish while you can.
Think you’ve got what it takes to be a certified beer nerd? Let us know what you’re drinking this spring in the comments below.
Did you know?
In 1814, a brewery vat containing 3,500 barrels of beer broke, causing a massive beer tsunami to rush through a London parish.