Every season is beer season
A guide to the perfect spring six-pack
As the Buffalo winter melts into spring, it's time to celebrate the season as you'd welcome any other long-awaited arrival - with good times accompanied by good brews.
Spring beers bring the sweet, complex and floral tastes that are strongly evocative of the flower buds pushing through the earth again and warmer days to come. In the spirit of unpredictable Buffalo weather, this six-pack offers the essential springtime classics with a couple surprises for the daring.
Victory Swing Session Saison (4.5 percent Alcohol by Volume)
($1.79 per bottle/$9.99 per six-pack)
Saisons and farmhouse ales are quintessentially spring, deeply rooted in Belgian brewing history. Victory delivers an approachable and accessible foray into this classic style with Swing. A pale, hazed yellow pour and thin head gives way to a floral and lemon aroma with just a streak of spiciness. Citrus is the most prominent, forward flavor with peppercorns giving the beer a unique and appropriate balance. Light wheat and hops close, with medium effervescence tingling the tongue. Flavorful and light, this beer is an easy go-to with familiar flavors and with a reasonable price point; it's the perfect beer to swing into spring.
Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock (6.5 percent ABV)
Bocks have historically been intertwined with festivals and revelry, and Einbecker's take on the spring standard is the perfect start to your seasonal celebrations. The only imported beer on this list, this traditional maibock skillfully captures the profile of this crisp, hoppy classic. A rich amber color and visible carbonation that rushes to the surface entice immediately, followed by a light bread and grain scent punctuated by caramel and malt notes emanating from a short, pale head. The smooth, full flavor follows the aroma closely with a sweet malt and toasted bread flavor predominating. The pleasing, approachable flavor makes this a perfect introduction to other bocks for first-timers. Brewed year-round, Einbecker's Mai-Ur-Bock can surely fuel festivities for long past spring.
Southern Tier Gemini (9.0 percent ABV)
As the beer with the highest price - and highest alcohol content - on this list, Gemini is not for everyone. But what this beer costs you upfront, and likely the next morning, is more than made up for with a complex flavor profile with as many shades as a springtime sunset. A sweet, hoppy scent delights the senses like a fresh-cut bouquet, with a beautiful golden color that is unmistakably seasonal. Sweet, tangy citrus hits the palate first, with notes of orange before melting to a warming touch of alcohol, with a hoppy finish rounding out the sip. With a medium body and relatively mild carbonation, this beer is a must-try as we see the thermometer begin to climb from the doldrums of winter.
Smuttynose Durty Mud Season Hoppy Brown Ale (8.4 percent ABV)
This spring seasonal captures the rich complexity that American brown ales are known for, with a stronger focus on hops and slightly higher alcohol percentage than usual. With a dark, tan head that hangs on 'til the bitter end, sweet, earthy aromas will keep you dreaming of muddy springtime walks in the woods until the last sip. The ironic blending of darker, heavier coffee and brown sugar flavors sliced through with prominent hops makes this a perfect beer for a New York spring, with summery hops piercing dark, wintery notes upfront. And like the tree buds just beginning to emerge from a heavy winter, the medium-mouth feel and carbonation covers the higher alcohol, with just a trace coming through at the end. At under $9 for a six-pack, this perfect seasonal beer will fit into most post-spring break budgets.
Wolaver's Wildflower Wheat (4.25 percent ABV)
Dark brown and cloudy in color, this beer's sweet tinge of honey is clear with each sip, particularly in the aftertaste. Floral notes are stronger on the nose, but it can be lost to the honey in taste. As expected from an American pale wheat ale, the drink offers strong carbonation. The drink is certified organic, making it a perfect choice for that beer-loving environmentalist you've been wanting to take on a lakeside stroll. Generally, a sweeter beer that is well balanced overall, this wheat ale's agreeable price and low ABV makes for easy sipping on lazy Spring Sundays.
Stillwater Artisanal Folklore (8.4 percent ABV)
($3.49/11.99 for 4)
The lessons in folktales are often hidden beneath layers of allegory as significant and enjoyable as the deeper meaning itself. Perhaps it's appropriate then that Stillwater's "Folklore," their take on Belgian strong dark ale, hides its high alcohol content below such rich flavors. Don't let the nearly black pour fool you; the delightful scents and tastes of this tale are anything but hidden. The quickly dissipating head leaves the nose wandering through deep woods with yeast at the forefront, followed by ripe plums and just a note of smokiness, reminiscent of a distant wood fire. Low carbonation keeps the roasted flavors in focus, with herbs, yeast and chocolate tied together by a wisp of smoke. Though not as traditional of a spring pick as the others on this list, Folklore offers a distinctive experience perfect for those chillier Buffalo spring nights, with an ABV that will ensure a memorable time.