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.
First up is the unparalleled king of the spring beer releases, Oberon Ale (5.8% ABV). The refreshing pale wheat ale, will become available on March 21 this year. 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. Speaking of all things festive, we’re happy to say that the party has returned to Kalamazoo’s famed Eccentric Café, along with multiple other venues. Oberon release parties have become a hallmark of spring, and we’ve missed them. Head to Kzoo or check their website to find one near you.
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. This season fans will likely 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.
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.
The mango in this zippy selection from Short’s is complemented by bold aromas of its tropical cousins, pineapple and grapefruit. If you love a flavorful IPA, then Psychedelic Cat Grass (7.6% ABV) will really make you hoppy! Ahem, happy, I meant happy. The brewmasters at Short’s have employed a triple dry hop for this spring treat. It’s got Mosaic, Amarillo, and Citra hops, which may have been the inspiration for the wacky name. The end result is a pleasantly dry and bitter brew that will leave fans anything but bitter.
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.
Look for all of these on store shelves and taps by the end of March. Remember that they 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!