Spring has sprung! Well, almost for those of us in the Midwest. The new season changes our daily routines and tells us to go outside again. The warmer weather also welcomes changes to our diet, and that includes the types of beer we’ll want to drink.
Baseball season has officially begun and that can only mean one thing: ballpark beers. You know the kind – light-bodied, crisp, served in a 20oz plastic cup. Lucky for us beer snobs, that’s quickly evolving as the craft beer scene is exploding onto the baseball scene. Ballparks, like the ones home to the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego’s Padres, have invested in some serious craft beer build-outs. Craft breweries are following suit with lagers that pair perfectly with outdoor sports. A newly released favorite that currently graces my refrigerator shelf is Founder’s Solid Gold. This is a great representation of a premium lager as it features high quality ingredients and a low-ABV. Lagers like this allow you to enjoy a few while also staying alert and attentive on game day. With some even at a slightly lower price point than your usual craft 6-pack, that makes these modern lagers even more accessible to your old school beer drinker.
New England Style IPAs
Also known as the “Hazy IPA,” this style is opening the door for new IPA drinkers. They exhibit much less bitterness and floral characteristics than it’s English or West Coast counterparts. You’ll also notice that a hazy IPA might look a lot more like orange juice than beer, but don’t let that turn you off. “The haziness is a byproduct of how they’re working with the hops and yeast. They set out to get a certain flavor and it happened to be hazy, not the other way around,” says Kyle Kensrue of New York City’s Randolph Beer. In exchange for less bitterness, NEIPAs tend to be fruit-forward and juicy. They definitely provide a refreshing taste experience that pairs perfectly with a little sunshine.
As warmer weather draws us outside, it’s time to explore new brewpubs. Since 2013, the number of operating craft breweries has been on a steady rise of roughly 800 each year in the United States. Last year, it surpassed 6,000 which means if 2018 follows suit, there’s a lot more craft beer to discover! The local movement doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and consumers are curious about what’s brewing in their area. We’re only a few months into the year and already we’ve seen some favorites open new brewpubs (like Odell Brewing in Denver and Marz in Chicago) and new breweries opening their doors (like Original Pattern Brewing Company in Oakland). Spring presents the perfect opportunity to refresh your beer list and get to know your neighborhood breweries.