Spring arrived this past Sunday and people’s thoughts quickly turned to warmer days. I know I started thinking about warmer weather, grilling and beer. Just like peanut butter has a companion in jelly, grilling has a companion in beer. I fired up my grill this past weekend for the first time and I knew I needed beer for the occasion. I have never really looked at seasonal spring beers before and for good reason as they are not as popular as the more dominant seasonal beers of winter and summer.
If there is one style of beer that is credited to spring it would be bock. Bock is a strong lager that has a German origin. Bock has several variations under it, mainly, doppelbock, eisbock and maibock.
Maibock or helles bock is usually brewed for consumption at spring festivals. This version of bock is paler and a more hopped version of traditional bock. Here in the US you will find spring beer festivals in cities all over, some bigger than others. Two of the more popular spring beer fests here are the Spring Beer Festival in Portland, Oregon and Bockfest in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Doppelbock or double bock is a stronger and more maltier version of traditional bock. This style of bock has deep roots in spring. This style was first created by monks in Munich, Germany and consumed during the time of lent. During lent monks would fast and were limited to only liquids. This version of bock was sort of a liquid bread for them during this time.
The bock style definitely has its roots tied to the spring and you will find that in the seasonal beers you see from breweries. As for some of the bigger breweries most of them have some sort of seasonal spring beer. Most of these also will be going away in a couple weeks as they make way for their seasonal summer brews.
If you want to try some spring beers you will need to get out in the next couple weeks before they are gone. Below is a list of some of the more common spring beers you will find in the store.
Sierra Nevada – Glissade Golden Bock
This beer I have seen around the last several weeks and of course when I finally decide to try it I can not find it. Sierra Nevada must pull this seasonal beer earlier than its counterparts. Here is what they say this beer is all about:
“As winter begins its slide toward the sunny days of spring, we bring you Glissade Golden Bock to help you enjoy the ride. Glissade is a remarkably mellow take on the traditional spring bock.
With restrained sweetness, we emphasize subtle malt flavor, balanced against delicate aromas of spicy and floral European hops. This complex balance helps Glissade slide across the palate—bracing us against the last cold nights of winter, while its bright golden color turns our thoughts toward spring.”
This seasonal spring beer is brewed with 5 noble hops which are, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter, and Hersbrucker Hersbrucker from Germany and Saaz from the Czech Republic. From the bottle it states:
“Samuel Adams Noble Pils is one of the only brews made with all 5 noble hops from the world’s oldest growing regions. Its bright flavor and lively, citrus hop character remind us that the warm days of spring are just a few weeks away. Cheers!”
Noble Pils is an easy beer to go down with just a slight ting at the end. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are Sam Adams fan.
Magic Hat has quickly become one of my favorite breweries. I usually love the beer they put out and it is always done very creatively. Their take on the spring seasonal beer is what they call Vinyl. Here is what Magic Hat says about this beer:
“Vinyl Lager is a beer with a deep amber hue, sweet malt taste and a slight balancing hop touch. This beer is produced using a lager strain of yeast and is fermented at the low end of ale fermentation temperatures, allowing the beer to maintain its easy-drinking lager-like characteristics.”
Vinyl is definitely not an overpowering lager and fits a “spring taste”. Magic Hat has another winner with this one and I would recommend trying it out. It has great flavor.