Hop, Skip n’ Spring – Spring Beer Trends
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Hop, Skip n’ Spring – Spring Beer Trends

Spring is upon us, and as the weather transforms into sunshine and warm, longer days, as does our palate. The next few months will see the introduction of some great spring beer varieties, away from the heavier, spicier, malty winter style beers.

Wheat, summer, fruit and pilsners are soon to be in full bloom to assist through your tough long days in paradise – I for one am very excited, especially with the new overarching trends in the craft beer market such as sours and lambics, and session ales.

The craft beer market seems to have taken a turn in a new direction, away from creating the hoppiest and strongest ales possible, towards lighter, more flavourable drinks – perfect spring beer!

Sours and Lambics

The resurgence of this old Belgian style of brewing has become widely seen across the craft beer landscape in North America. It is this unusual process which gives the beer its distinctive flavour: dry, vinous, and cidery, usually with a sour aftertaste; a change from the bitter, hoppy flavour that has been so prominent the past few decades, especially here in the Pacific North West. Personally, this style is yet to take my fancy but there are a couple I would recommend if this style sounds like something that you may like.

Bitter Beer Face

Passionfruit Sour

Breakside Brewing, Portland OR

This beer has a real suckerpunch of sourness to it but the fruit flavour is not lost and tastes like a bag of sour candy.

Wild Flower Saison

Four Winds Brewing Co., Delta BC

The gentlemen at Four Winds Brewing in Delta BC hit the craft beer scene hard back in 2013, mastering the art of Belgian style brewing with a unique West Coast influence.

Session Ales

After a couple of decades of pushing the boundaries of how many hops you can squeeze into a beer, how strong you can make a beer and how bitter you can make a beer, breweries finally clued in that knocking consumers out after 1-2 beers probably isn’t too sustainable. The past couple of summers has seen the turn around into producing still hoppy, flavourful beers, but at the 4-5% ABV, so you can have a “session”, as opposed to being cooked after a couple. The India Session Ale (ISA) has become more and more popular, as not only an entry level IPA (India Pale Ale), but a great sessionable tasty beer. A step beyond the session ale is the radler – essentially a shandy but with citrus juice, typically grapefruit or lemon, as opposed to lemonade. These beers (that term is used loosely) are practically soda at 0.5-3% ABV but delicious nonetheless.

Hop Therapy India Session Ale

Hop Therapy ISA

Russell Brewing Surrey BC

Just as tasty as a PNW IPA, but at an ABV where you can drink twice as much, and it’s in a can so you can get it cold quick – a perfect River of Golden Dreams companion.

Lemon Ginger Radler

Mission Springs Brewing Co., Mission BC

Brewed by an ex Longhorn bartender, Kevin Winters, and a top 5 ranked beer at the 2013 Whistler Village Beer Festival, this spring beer is a beauty. A real guilt-free cooler for the guys out there, because technically… it’s still beer, not a cooler!

Fruity and Floral: The Perfect Spring Beer

Lucky for us, one of BC’s most anticipated summer ales comes from within, from our brewery and distillery in North Vancouver, Deep Cove Brewers + Distillers

Sun Kissed Tea Saison by Deep Cove.

Spring will also see the return of the highly commended, excessively drank and perfect spring beer, Deep Cove Sunkissed Tea Saison – Gold winner in the Belgian category at the 2014 Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale, two weeks after its first release! This beer will be rejoining the tap line up at the Longhorn Saloon, Tapley’s and a few more venues across Whistler in the next couple of months. This innovative beer uses a Belgian yeast and wheat/barley base and literally steeps a custom local blend of hibiscus tea, not once, but twice (one hot and one cold steep) to pull out amazing flavours such as citrus, peach, mango and more.

Give them a try and let me know what you think, and as always, enjoy responsibly 😉

Liam Peyton