patio pounders!

Since spring decided to show up a little early this year, and the weather has been getting so warm that the trees have been whistling for dogs, it’s high time to change up the contents of the beer fridge.   If you are like me, when the weather is this nice and “beer:30” seems to beckon a little earlier than 5 o’clock, the craving changes from a punishing Imperial IPA or a whopper of a stout to something more refreshing and sessionable.  So whether you are kicking it on the deck or at your backyard barbeque, here are six beers to get the spring season started off right:

Saison Dupont:   This classic Belgian is brewed in the traditional Farmhouse style where beers were produced in winter to be consumed by farmhands in the spring and summer months.  For me, it is a beer that I enjoy year-round, but in spring is when the craving really strikes.  It is light as far as Belgian beers go but is right on for the style.  It is crisp, refreshing, and has just a little citrus flavor that is balanced out with a subtle pepper bite on the finish.

Wittekerke Belgian Wit:  One of the most balanced beers for its style, this Belgian Wheat is essentially the original Belgian version of the popular Bell’s Oberon.  Balance is definitely the name of the game with this one.    The flavor is fruity with a little malty grain balanced with plenty of crisp carbonation that makes it a great warm weather beer.

Schlafly Kolsch:  Kolsch style beers have always been some of my favorites, and many breweries have been trying their hand with this style.  Schlafly is spot-on with their version of a traditional German Kolsch.  They even use the same yeast strain that the German brewery Gaffel uses for their bestselling Kolsch style beer and it works beautifully with Schlafly’s recipe.  It is light, with just a touch of crisp citrus balanced and a hint of hoppy bitterness.  And at only 4.5% abv it is one of the best if your day requires more than a few.

Bell’s Oberon:  Tried and true, Bell’s Oberon is consistently one of the best spring release beers around and there is good reason for its popularity.  Well-rounded with a citrusy sweet flavor balanced with just enough hops make it a crowd pleaser for even the domestic beer drinker. SPRING RELEASE at V&T: March 26th!!

Bosteel’s Tripel Karmeliet:  A Belgian Tripel may not be your first choice when you reach into your fridge on a warm afternoon, but this one is not your standard Tripel.  Made with wheat, oats, and barley, it sets itself apart from other Tripels by being a beer with plenty of complexity while not being overwhelming.  It is as smooth as a wheat beer while having a slightly bigger, buttery mouthfeel accompanied by the aromas and flavors of a Belgian Tripel.  This makes this beer approachable for even those who are not fans of the style, and at 8% abv, you won’t be asleep in the hammock by 3 in the afternoon either… unless that’s your plan.

Stone Levitation:  Stone Brewery is well-known for their big, harsh range of beers like the Arrogant Bastard and the Ruination IPA.  While their Levitation Ale is far more hoppy and bitter than the other beers on this list, it is the lightest and most sessionable of the Stone line.  So if you are a diehard hop- head or want something to pair with some robust barbeque flavors without the high alcohol content, this one will do the job.

So if you’re looking for a patio pounder this spring, stop by the beercave and I’ll be happy to help you out.

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 Vine & Table #301