It’s strange to be writing a spring beer roundup after digging out from an April snowstorm, but according to the calendar, it’s been spring for a couple weeks now. If we can’t bring in spring with T-shirt weather and backyard fires free from the tyranny of snow, I say we do it with beer.
What I look for in a spring beer is a light malt bill and bright, vibrant aromas and flavors from the hops and yeast. A spring beer should awaken the senses and stir the soul after a long Maine winter, like that first time you toss open a window to let in the cool April air.
These Maine beers will renew your spirit after this past hardy Maine winter.
HOPPY TABLE BEER || Allagash Brewing Co.
Allagash Brewing’s newest year-round offering is a vibrant feast for the senses. Hoppy Table Beer is a low alcohol, hop-forward, Belgian table-style beer. It’s brewed with Allagash’s signature yeast, a light touch of coriander and a lush amount of American hops, including Chinook, Cascade, Comet and Azacca hops. There’s a wonderful interplay between the tropical fruit and light pine notes from the hops and the fruity Belgian yeast. Like all beers Allagash, Hoppy Table Beer gushes with balanced complexities.
STYLE: Belgian table beer
TASTING NOTES: Tropical fruit notes from the hops and fruity esters from the yeast
ABV: 4.8 percent
AVAILABILITY: Purchase four-packs at beer stores, most grocery stores and the brewery in Portland.
SALAD DAZE || Bunker Brewing Co.
Salad Daze is a hoppy lager with the just the right touch of crisp flavors to remind us of the warm months ahead. It pours a straw hue with a thick foamy head. Sumptuous aromas of citrus fruit, fresh cut grass and graham crackers arise out of its can. The lager yeast offers a nice sharp bite beneath the grapefruit fruit flavors from the Citra hops used for dry-hopping. At 4.7 percent, Salad Daze is a session-able American Pale Lager whose vivacious flavors will be a spring equinox for your palate.
STYLE: American pale lager
TASTING NOTES: Citrus fruit and fresh cut grass from the hops, and a lager bite from the yeast
ABV: 4.7 percent
AVAILABILITY: Purchase six-packs at most beer stores and at the new brewery in Portland.
THE JUICE || Peak Organic Brewing Co.
Peak Organic describes The Juice as a ‘wicked dry-hoped pale ale.’ Here’s how to best experience the wicked dry-hopping: Crack a fresh can, nuzzle your nose in there and take a big whiff. The aroma of grapefruit zest, tangerines and blood oranges from the cornucopia of American hops will make you weak in the knees. I like The Juice as a spring beer because it’s a pale ale and not an IPA; it’s a lighter beer and the hops don’t obliterate the palate. As its name implies, it does taste like juice — refreshing, fruity, with a complex alcohol undercurrent. Let The Juice loose this spring.
STYLE: American Pale Ale
TASTING NOTES: Lush aroma and flavors from the ‘wicked’ dry-hopping of a collection of American hops
ABV: 5.8 percent
AVAILABILITY: Purchase four-packs of cans at most beer stores.
SOUR TROUBLE || Liquid Riot Bottling Co.
You might not think of a sour brown ale as a spring beer, but indulge me. Though Sour Trouble pours molasses brown, the use of Lactobacillus in the kettle imparts sour notes that tantalize the senses in all right ways. The malts in this beer give a candy balance to the tartness. Do not fear this sour beer; it’s not a sour bomb like some Warhead-inspired ales. Sour Trouble offers a light pucker with a clean lactic acid profile, making it the perfect gateway beer to the world of sours. This beer is a great transition from the dark beers of winter into the lighter beers of the spring and summer. Let it renew your senses like a warm May sunshower.
STYLE: Brown ale with lactobacillus
TASTING NOTES: Clean tart flavors with a candy malt backbone
ABV: 7.5 percent
AVAILABILITY: Purchase four-packs at local beer stores and at the brewery in Portland.
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
Battery Steele Brewing opens
1 Industrial Way, Portland. facebook.com/batterysteelebrewing
Portland’s newest brewery opened to the public Saturday with a to-go “beer window,” as it’s still getting its tasting room ready. It’s just the latest brewery to open up in the One Industrial Way building with a heavily storied legacy in Maine brewing. Past tenants include Maine Beer Co., Rising Tide Brewing and Bissell Brothers Brewing, while it still houses Foundation Brewing Co. and Austin Street Brewery. Check Battery Steele’s social media pages to stay abreast on its tasting room opening, hours and beer releases.
Sebago Brewing Co. breaks ground on new facility
Earlier this week, Sebago Brewing Co. hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on its new brewery and tasting room in Gorham. The 30,000-square-foot facility will include an expanded brewhouse and a 9,000-square-foot tasting room. Located near Shaw Park, the new space will offer patrons access to hiking trails that can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. To mark the occasion, I suggest you grab a sixer of Sebago’s Simmer Down — a great spring and summer beer.