Expert Tips on Building a Spring-Inspired Beer List

Expert Tips on Building a Spring-Inspired Beer List

By Fred Crudder, Foodable Industry Expert

Historically, there are certainly examples of springtime beer releases. Marzen is a traditional German style of beer brewed in the fall, matured over the long winter, and released in March. Also from Germany, a Maibock is a light-bodied version of a strong lager (bock) that is released in spring. In Belgium, the refreshing and funky Sasion style is brewed with a relatively high alcohol content specifically so it can keep over the winter. These beers were consumed as the spring planting began, when people knew that fresh supplies of grain were on the way to brew more beer. These examples, however, were born out of necessity. They were not chosen because of how perfectly they fit with spring weather. 

Odd Man Out

One reason that spring beers suffer from an identity crisis has to do with who they are up against. Fall beers are hearty, sometimes spiced with cinnamon and other pie spices, or they might showcase the bounty of the year’s hop harvest. Winter beers are generally dark, strong, and complex. They are decadent and festive. When summer rolls around, the beers are light and refreshing, perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day. All of these beers are not only suited perfectly for their seasons, they are eagerly anticipated by their fans. Spring beer? Well, they seem to suffer from being not as interesting as fall and winter beers, just taking up space on the calendar until the summer beers arrive.

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Spring Trends in the Craft Beer Market

Spring Trends in the Craft Beer Market

By Fred Crudder, Foodable Industry Expert

If you live in a northerly climate, you are undoubtedly ecstatic to see winter ebb away as the onset of warmer weather signals the arrival of spring. With the onset of spring, everything around us begins to change as the world comes back to life. Change is everywhere, especially in the constantly evolving world of beer.

The Return to Session-Style Beers

One of the recent movements in the beer world was the extreme beer movement that peaked a few years ago. Consumers seemed to have no restraint when it came to beers that were intensely flavored, high in alcohol, full of oddball ingredients, or just downright weird. Brewers were happy to oblige, putting out a litany of creative beers that would not only blow out your taste buds, but put you under the table. This trend has ebbed substantially, but it left in its wake some amazing beers that remain in the pantheon of legendary, highly sought-after “whales.” Make no mistake though, this period of reckless experimentation brought us some truly awful beers, and thankfully most of those are no longer with us.

The natural follow-up to the extreme beer movement was a reversal of sorts. Beer drinkers were fatigued by the massive flavors and alcohol contents of those extreme beers, and ready for some good old-fashioned beer drinking. Along came the session beers. The English refer to lower ABV (alcohol by volume) beers as being “sessionable.” You can enjoy quite a few during a lengthy session at the pub. American brewers decided that they too could make full-flavored beer without the hefty ABVs, and they did. Beer drinkers were, as they generally tend to be about anything new, ecstatic. Suddenly the same people who couldn’t get enough of being walloped over the head with flavor and strength were bragging about the latest, most delicious, low ABV beer they discovered.

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