Craft on Tap: Spring ’15 Beer Picks
As winter’s flailing corpse gives way to seedlings and sprouts, it’s time to rotate the dark winter warmers and imperial stouts from the fridge out for some lighter beers all the while keeping some of the slightly darker ales for those chilly spring nights.
With springtime, we start to see some of the nicer weather days, the parks look a bit greener, you can go hiking with your friends without secretly wondering which ones you’d be forced to eat if there’s an avalanche that strands you, the restaurant patio seating becomes more tempting and you can go on a nice bike ride from time to time. In addition you may get one or two days where you have to still bundle up and wipe snow from your car. Spring is a bit of a identity crisis period between winter and summer and when it comes to beer you will see a mix of the lighter summer-esque offerings while the dark stouts of winter still remains tempting.
While this is my first time to remember to do a spring edition, the rules remain the same as with my prior entries:
- The beers have been tasted (there’s so much beer, so little time/body limitations to try them all…plus it’d be bullshit to rattle off beers that haven’t been tried first). So in other words “duh!”
- The beers can be found in stores (there’s plenty of breweries that are “on-tap only” that I’m fiercely loyal to, but unless you live near us, this list won’t help you out much, plus it isn’t designed to provoke a “I have better places to drink than you” pissing contest), so these can hopefully be found in your local stores as well.
- The beer is distributed to Colorado. That’s where I’m located currently. This stipulation also obviously mirrors stipulation number 1. There’s plenty that I tried at the Great American Beer Festival and wish that came this way (I’m looking at you 3 Floyds, Sun King, Cigar City, Jester King, Heavy Seas and Brooklyn Brewery!!) Needless to say, I’m sure there are possibly some blasphemous omissions from the following lists, but there’s also a very good chance that it hasn’t been tried or made available out here. Plus you can sound off below in the comments if I snub your favorite beer!
Anyway here’s my top 6 beers to enjoy with Spring (what’s left of it as this is sorta mid-spring):
Brewery Ommegang’s Three Eyed Raven- As Game of Thrones enters its 5th season, brewery Ommegang has released its 5th Game of Thrones inspired beer. This dark saison isn’t bad but I did tend to enjoy it more than Fire and Blood and even Valar Morgulus but it still hasn’t overtaken Take the Black Stout as my favorite Game of Thrones offering from Ommegang. Plus being a sucker for saisons, I recommend it….that is, if you can find it due to the show’s overlap of fans and beer nerds.
Oscar Blues’ Pinner Throwback IPA- Session IPAs seem to be a big trend lately with Stone’s Go To IPA and New Belgium’s Slow Ride. Pinner is my favorite of the bunch with its somewhat tropical taste and “pine-like” aroma. While most of the time I will gravitate towards a saison or different ale over and IPA, this one was quite nice and will probably taste great at a BBQ or any other outdoor outing.
Shiner Prickly Pear Ale- This may be dubbed as a “summer beer”, but as anyone who has visited the Lone Star State of Texas knows; springtime in Texas is basically summertime anyway so I don’t mind adding this to my list. For all the non-Texans, luckily this beer is already out (breweries like to start the season a few months early) and it pairs perfectly well with a nice warm day. Miles better than their usual summer offering of Ruby Redbird in my opinion.
New Belgium’s Snapshot Wheat- Every time I like a New Belgium beer that isn’t part of their year round offerings I get somewhat worried that I won’t see it again (RIP “Kick”, “Summersault”, “Rolle Bolle”, “Pumpkick”, ect). I am glad that Snapshot is a part of the main roster as of now. This beer actually launched last year and sort of introduced a very low intensity sour beer to the casual beer market. While some of New Belgium’s awesome and more intense sours appear here and there such as La Follie or Le Terrior, this one is a chaper, more readily available intro to the world of sour beers. Plus after that you can try out Desthil’s Here Gose Nothing, Almanac’s Golden Gate Gose or Crooked Stave’s St Bretta!
Evil Twin’s Even More Jesus- This may be an Easter beer but it can honestly be enjoyed anytime. This beer pours pitch black and has a nice coffee/fig/cherry taste. Evil Twin has become a brewery that I’ve been enjoying as of late and I’ve really enjoyed this beer. Plus being a strong beer it can be cellar aged until next Easter….or whenever you want to drink it! Plus it probably tastes even more amazing for those that give up beer for Lent.
Great Divide’s Orabelle- While I can argue that my favorite beer Collette by New Belgium is great in the spring as well, this really is a fun treat as it’s only a seasonal brew. With notes of banana, and a marriage of rye and wheat this smooth, yet strong beer is a absolute must during the springtime.