As the days and nights grow warm, warmer, very warm, and daylight seems to stretch the afternoon into midevening, our palates yearn for brighter flavors, sharper textures, and more refreshing drinks. Driven by citrusy hops, fruit additions, and occasional barrel aging, spring beers offer bursts of tangy, tart, and downright delicious flavors as luminous and exciting as a desert sunset.
The Bruery, Sour in the Rye, 7.6% ABV (alcohol by volume)
Tart black cherries, sour plums, apricots, and peach flavors dominate while oak, grassy earthiness, and funky yeast notes flower in the background. The character of the rye asserts itself with notes of clove and pepper. Enjoy with fresh-farmed oysters or duck à l’orange.
New Belgium Brewing Company, Citradelic Tangerine IPA, 6% ABV
This fruit-forward beer launched in January 2016. It’s jammed with 10 different kinds of hops, including tropical Azzaca, fruity Galaxy, and Mandarina Bavaria. Brewers then add tangerine-infused orange peel. The sweet and tangy orange character intertwines with the hops for optimal balance.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Luponic Distortion, 5.9% ABV
The Paso Robles brewery introduced this revolutionary revolving-hop series in early 2016. Typically, you want a beer to taste the same every time. That all changes with Luponic Distortion. A new version is released every 90 days. For the best and freshest, get it as soon as it’s brewed. Luponic Distortion No. 005 was released in February and is a fruit bomb, brewed with five different hop varieties. No. 006 hit shelves in May.
Epic Brewing Company, Brainless on Peaches, 10.8% ABV
The Utah brewery took its double gold medal–winning Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale, added peach puree and a touch of Champagne yeast and aged it in French chardonnay casks. Drink it from a snifter and pair it with a spicy seafood dish or fruit cobbler.
21st Amendment Brewery, Hell or High Watermelon, 4.9% ABV
This watermelon wheat is available through September in six-pack cans. Its portability and low-alcohol content make it ideal for a picnic in the park. Because it is brewed with fresh watermelon, the flavor profile begins with a subtle burst of melon flavor that finishes with a contrasting hint of bitter hops.
Ballast Point, Grapefruit Sculpin, 7% ABV
Another good beer we wouldn’t want to mess with is Ballast Point’s signature IPA. However, the brewers managed to make it better with the addition of this winter citrus fruit, making the Grapefruit Sculpin a refreshing alternative during the spring and summer. Drink it with grilled fish or salad.
The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Blood Orange Amber, 6.5% ABV
Part of the “Juicebox Series,” Blood Orange Amber is perfect for an afternoon of tailgating or a day at the park because it’s available in cans. This brew is bursting with ripe California blood oranges, enriched by a creamy dark chocolate finish.
Babe’s Brewhouse, San Gaijin Yuzu Citra Wheat, 5.2% ABV
Currently on tap at Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse is a new collaboration with Engin Onural, chef and owner of The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge. It’s an American Hefeweizen brewed with American Hefe yeast and Citra hops to create earthy notes of lemon, specially crafted to pair with sushi.