Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

Spring Is Here, Let’s Have a Beer!

By Timothy Long

Spring has sprung!! As I begin work on this article, I pause to look out the window. It’s not really a pause, I’m contemplating just what the hell I am going to write about this month. I notice that the trees are starting to bud. Tiny bursts of green that will soon fill the branches as they grow. I can hear birds outside in the courtyard. They’re squawking and squabbling over nesting spots. I’d prefer singing and chirping.  But still, it’s a sign of Spring, La Primavera. I start to dream of sunny days, baseball, relaxing at the pool, the beach, women in bikinis, women in bikinis playing volleyball. Tim stop it! You’re supposed to be writing an article!

OK, it’s Spring. So, it’s time to change what beers we are drinking, right? Wrong!! Spring cleaning does not have to include dispensing with some of your favorite malted beverages. Yes, our dietary trends start to change as the days grow longer and warmer. But that is mostly due to the seasonality of food. Much of the cuisine we enjoy is seasonal. As seasons change, we wait to enjoy certain items that either become available or greatly improve in quality. Spring makes us anticipate tomatoes, avocados, blue crabs, ramps, etc. None of this has anything to do with beer. Beer is a year-round delight. Yes, your local craft brewery may stop producing some beer styles due to lack of demand. Plus, they enjoy putting out a Spring collection of beers, most of which will be of the lighter variety. This does not mean that you must give up your stout or IPA.

The brewer’s thought process is this: As Spring comes and Summer looms, everyone wants a lighter beer. It’s the same way chefs approach food. They know that we desperately need to fit back into our bathing suits. We all want to look good. Trust me, I’m reminded every morning when I look in the mirror or stand on the scale, or worse yet, do both.  What I’m saying is simply this, you do not have to give up the heavy and savory beers that you enjoy. Think about it, do people stop eating steak in spring and summer? How many times will you see or smell steak grilling this year? And is steak heavy and savory? You bet it is!! No one who loves steak gives it up in the Spring. The same logic should apply to your favorite beer. What are you going to drink with your steak? A wine cooler? Or one of those seltzer drinks? Give me a break! You need your beer! When it’s steak time, you need your old friend. That beer that you know. That beer that you trust. That beer that has never let you down.

Now, with that all being said, what am I drinking this Spring? I tend to move to lighter beer types. I love a good pilsner or lager on a hot day. But in the cool Spring evenings, I will still enjoy a stout or an IPA, especially if steak is involved. Am I being a bit hypocritical? Probably. The point is, enjoy what you enjoy. Drink the beer that you like. It’s your palate. You only have one. Treat it well.

Here are some fun craft beers I think will put some fling in your Spring:

Maine Beer Company Lunch ABV 7%

A friend introduced me to this craft brewery’s beers last summer. And I’m very glad he did. This is a lighter, well-balanced IPA that even non-IPA drinkers would like. It’s both juicy and herbal. And very refreshing on the palate. Just as the name suggests, it’s a perfect lunch beer.

Port City Optimal Wit ABV 4.9%

Port City runs this beer year-round, but it’s really a great Spring beer. The light spice on the nose and fruity tartness in the taste make this Belgian-style wit bier a Spring winner. Perfect for lounging in the back yard with a cigar in your hand, which is something I happen to know a little about.

Aslin Old Town Lager ABV 4%

I love this beer. It’s what an American Lager should be. This beer starts with a little bread on the nose. The taste brings pale malts and floral hops with a medium mouth feel. Easy to drink and enjoy. It’s a real mowing the lawn beer. Also great for after, or during, a game of softball.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness ABV 6.1%

Here I am, once again, a Pittsburgh fan recommending a beer from Cleveland. I can’t help it. I love Great Lakes Brewing Company. The only good things that come from Cleveland are their beers. This is a fun amber lager with toasted malt and dark fruit. Don’t let the bitter front full you. This beer is smooth and refreshing.

Eggenberg Hopfen Konig Austrian Pilsner ABV 5.1%

Bready, earthy, and grassy with hints of melon, this beer was made for Spring. I first drank this wonderful beer at a café in Salzburg, Austria. So glad we now have it in the states.

About the Author: Timothy Long is an educator, writer, consultant, and experienced restaurant operator. Email: tlong@belmarinnovations.com. Instagram and Twitter: @wvutimmy. Blog: What is that fly doing in my soup? http://whatflyinmysoup.com


Tim’s Whiskey and Cigar Recommendations:

Now that I have adjusted your Spring-Cleaning strategy, here are my whiskey and cigar recommendations for May. You can never go wrong with Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon. Great flavors of cinnamon, oak, apple, citrus, and cherry on the front with not a lot of heat but good deep flavors. The mouth feel is thicker but not overpowering. It finishes with vanilla, honey, apple, and citrus.  It’s a quite delightful and affordable bourbon. It averages $30 a bottle and is 94 proof. Your May cigar is the Montecristo Classic Series, Dominican, not Cuban. Coffee bean, earth, cedar, and white pepper come through beautifully when smoking this smooth cigar. The mouth feel is creamy with a nutty texture. Cigar Aficionado recently bumped the rating of this cigar from an 87 up to a 90, a long overdue bump in my opinion. This cigar will blend nicely with the Elijah Craig you are drinking, after you enjoy your Spring steak and beer. Cheers!!

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