Snow is melting. Waterfalls are thawing. Maple sap is flowing. These are all among the many joys of springtime in Michigan. As the weather warms many beer drinkers find their tastes moving away from the brown ales, stouts, and porters of winter and toward the wheat and fruit that transitions us into summer. These 5 delectable spring beer releases will have you longing for that not too far off day at the lake.

Oberon – Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo)

First up is the unparalleled king of the spring beer releases, Oberon Ale (5.8% ABV). The refreshing pale wheat ale is made with only 4 ingredients, and without the use of any spices or fruit. Oberon has become a classic well beyond the borders of Michigan. It’s readily available in stores as well as on tap all over the state. Add a slice of orange to brighten the flavor even more, and make it festive.

KBS Hazelnut Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids)

Once upon a time, the only real rival for the king of spring beer releases was the highly anticipated return of the infamous and beloved Kentucky Breakfast Stout. The bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout is now known simply as KBS and is available throughout the year. However, that doesn’t mean that March is without excitement at Founders. In the spring fans can go nuts for KBS Hazelnut (12% ABV). After all, hazelnut has long been a popular addition to java drinks. It only makes sense to accent the existing premium coffee and chocolate notes of KBS with the sweetness of this lovely nut.

Whango – Atwater Brewery (Detroit)

Spring beer releases wouldn’t be complete without entries focused on fruit. If you’re thinking we don’t have ripe fruit here in spring, you are correct. So much like our personal fruit intake at this time of year, many brewers incorporate that of a more tropical variety. Turns out mango isn’t just delicious in a salsa or a chutney. In fact, it finds its way into two of our favorite seasonal brews. The Motor City anxiously welcomes Whango Mango Wheat (4.9% ABV) back onto shelves and taps this month. You can really taste the mango in every sip, which adds a fruity sweetness to both the taste and aroma.

Soft Parade Shandy – Short’s Brewing Company (Bellaire)

Short’s takes one of its classics and adds a tropical flair that is perfect for spring right through until the end of summer.  Soft Parade Shandy (4.2% ABV) delivers all the berries of its big sister, Soft Parade, but blended with homemade lemonade for an extra quenching burst of flavor. This shandy pours raspberry pink, so it looks great in the glass. While it is mildly tart, the added sweetness from the lemonade really brightens up the berry notes. It’s the perfect choice for a relaxing afternoon on a patio.

Grapefruit IPA – Perrin Brewing Company (Comstock Park)

Last, but by no means least on our list of spring beer releases that will have you smiling is this genuine thirst-quencher from Perrin. Grapefruit IPA (5% ABV) is an excellent choice for those spring days that flirt with being summer. The delicate grapefruit flavor adds some tartness that really balances out the bitterness of the hops. This is a beer that easily feels like a session IPA and almost a pale ale, that will have you easily reaching for seconds.

Remember these beverage gems don’t stay all year, so sip and savor while you can. This is also a great time to pop in on the brewery nearest you and find out what cool brews they’re releasing into the much-awaited warmth of the arriving season. Cheers to spring!

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.