With spring right around the corner, many people are beginning their search for the perfect warm-weather beer. After all, the porters and stouts that are synonymous with fall and winter are simply too heavy for a spring evening, and give way to lighter styles that are perfect for pairing with light springtime meals. The following are four of the best beers for Spring 2012, most of which are readily available throughout much of the country.
When it comes to Belgian-inspired wheat beer, it’s difficult to beat the flagship product from Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, ME. Allagash White is one of the most drinkable beers on the planet, thanks in part to the citrus and lemon tones that have made it so famous throughout the country. Extremely versatile when it comes to pairing with food, White is a great all-around beer that is almost sessionable at 5.2% ABV. Given the fact that Allagash White is available in four-packs that typically sell for under $10, it also happens to be a fantastic value. For the perfect American-made wheat beer, look no further than Allagash White.
As far as Samuel Adams’ regular lineup goes, beer geeks look forward to nothing more than the yearly release of Noble Pils (soon poised for year-round availability). This fantastic Czech-style pilsner is brewed using only the finest noble hops, and is prized for its crisp, clean finish. Ultra drinkable, Noble Pils makes for the perfect accompaniment to pizza, pasta, or any other red-sauce dish, and is extremely affordable, at around $8 for a six-pack. At 4.9% ABV, it won’t leave you waking up with a headache, either.
Saisons are Belgian farmhouse-style ales that are typically characterized by a hoppy, herbal center and medium-dry, sharp finish, and are considered by most beer aficionados to be the most versatile beers in the world for pairing with food. When it comes to benchmark examples of this style, Saison Dupont is referenced almost unanimously. Light, floral, spicy, and yeasty, Saison Dupont is just as delicious by itself as it is when paired with a bowl of mussels or a plate of roasted chicken. Given its $8 price tag for a 750 ml bottle, it remains a fantastic deal when compared to other large-format beers, as it is truly one of the best saisons in the world.
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head has built a veritable empire for itself, and is no doubt one of the most successful craft breweries in America. Their year-round flagship 60 Minute IPA is a beautiful, bottle-conditioned beer that makes for the perfect spring drink. Continuously hopped throughout the brewing process for 60 minutes straight, 60 Minute IPA is very nice on both the nose and tongue, with strong hints of grapefruit, pine, and lemon zest. At 6% ABV, it serves as a nice take on the style, and happens to be far more drinkable than the brewery’s 90 Minute IPA (which weighs in at 9% ABV). A fantastic dinner beer, and readily available.