For many of us, it feels like the spring weather takes longer to arrive every year. When it does finally arrive, springtime brings with it trees blossoming, birds chirping, and crisp, refreshing beers to pour.
Of the four seasons, spring is often overlooked when it comes to associating beer styles, and it can be attributed to a lack of specific seasonal flavors tied to spring. Think about it – autumn is associated with märzens or pumpkin ales, winter has its spiced, warming beers, and summer ales always signify the start of beach season. But what about spring?
The spring beer season is full of terrific options, and despite seasonal creep and reduced fanfare, there’s no better way to celebrate the end of winter and the reemergence of sunshine than with a solid lineup of spring beers.
No matter what the thermometer reads outside this season, your bar program should have several of these popular spring beer styles on your ever-evolving tap list.
Maibock is perhaps the most notable style beer brewed specifically for the spring. It quite literally stands for May bock, or brewed for the month of May. Lighter in color and less malty than the traditional German bock, maibocks are a drier and hoppier member of the bock family. It’s the perfect transition from winter warmers to summer ales.
The doppelbock is a stronger bock beer style that is darker, heavier, and sweeter. What makes a doppelbock a springtime beer is related more to its history than anything else. Why? It’s said that doppelbocks were first brewed by monks of St. Francis of Paula in Munich. The monks drank the filling beer for sustenance while they fasted during the observance of Lent.
While IPAs tend to be a year-round beer nowadays, certain styles make their presence known in the spring months. Fruit IPAs, featuring citrus fruit notes from oranges, grapefruits, mangos, and more, find their way onto tap lists following winter.
Saisons are a part of the farmhouse ale family, which originated in Belgian farmhouses. There, this beer was brewed during the winter months and stored until the warmer spring and summer months arrived for laborers to consume. Saisons are light in color, dry, and known for their varying spicy characteristics. Saisons vary from brewer to brewer, making it a favorite among craft beer enthusiasts.