Craft Beer Spring Seasonals 2012

By Meghan Storey

It’s impossible to overlook the countless craft beer spring seasonals being released from America’s brewers this year—they’re literally popping up like daisies. All puns aside, there are quite a few specific styles associated with spring.

Learn more about craft beer styles using the Style Finder.

Common Spring Beer Styles

  • Maibock: This German-style Lager that is said to have been consumed by fasting monks during the season of Lent. Malty and satisfying, but not too heavy, this is a perfect beer to help ring in the spring.
  • Red Ale: This style is characterized by a light-to-medium caramel malt sweetness. American-brewed versions often use the beer’s malty base to support aggressive hop aromas, flavors and bitterness.
  • Irish Stout: Also known as a Dry Stout, this roasty, dark ale is perfect for cool, rainy spring days or for celebrating your Irish heritage on March 17.
  • Biere de Mars: A malty version of the Biere de Garde, Biere de Mars is often partially fermented with a wild yeast strain such as Brettanomyces.
  • Wheat Beers: These refreshing beers are brewed with 30-60 percent wheat malt. During the spring and summer months, you will often find versions of these beers brewed with regional fruits.

To celebrate these special seasonal beers, we asked Brewers Association member breweries to share their latest releases. Here’s what they had to share:

Delaware Oyster Stout | 16 Mile Brewery
Georgetown, Delaware

Oyster Stout is brewed with over 100 fresh oysters from the Delaware Bay and also Cherrywood smoked malt. This beer was brewed with George Hummel (well-know beer writer from the Philly area), and will raise money for the Delaware Estuary which is re-seeding the Delaware Bay’s historic oyster beds that have been destroyed over the years due to pollution.

Availability: DE, MD, NJ, PA

Alaskan Black IPA | Alaskan Brewing Company
Juneau, Alaska

Alaskan’s spring seasonal features the hop-forward profile and lighter palate of an IPA with the dark black color and flavors of a fuller-bodied Porter. A burst of fresh, citrus notes from Cascade and Centennial hops balance the hints of coffee and bitter chocolate with a subtle toasted sweetness and dark fruit highlights leading to a pleasantly dry finish.

Availability: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MN, MT, ND, NV, OR, WA, WI, WY

Alaskan Birch Bock | Alaskan Brewing Company
Juneau, Alaska

Alaskan Birch Bock is a tawny, copper-colored ale with slight off-white lacing. Lightly toasted and caramel malts highlight the aroma with noticeable undertones of birch, figs and spun sugar. The flavor is also lightly malty with a delicate earthy or floral sweetness at the front that develops into a soft but not cloying mouthfeel. The birch syrup adds a subtle woodsy and sherry-like character that mingles with the hop bitterness to create clean and dry finish that nicely masks the spice of alcohol in this medium-bodied beer.

Availability: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MN, MT, ND, NV, OR, WA, WI, WY

Traverse City Cherry WheatTraverse City Cherry Wheat | Atwater Brewery
Detroit, Michigan

Traverse City is the cherry capital of the world, so as a Michigan brewery, we are celebrating by using the Montmorency tart cherry concentrate in our award-winning wheat ale to produce a beer to welcome the spring season.

Availability: IN, IL, MD, MA, MI, NH, NY, NC, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA

Spring Fling Ale | Blue Point Brewing Company
Patchogue, New York

Our copper ale strikes a unique balance between the malty flavor of special German barley and the zesty spice of West Coast hops to deliver a crisp and refreshing brew that finishes with subtle hints of nuts and honey.

Availability: NY, NJ, MI, CT, MA, NH, VT, PA, RI, MD, DE, NC, VA, FL

Irish Ale | Boulevard Brewing Company
Kansas City, Missouri

It is our Midwestern tribute to the legendary red ales of old Ireland. Our recipe combines six kinds of pale and roasted barley malts to provide a rich, toasty flavor and tawny reddish hue.

Availability: AK, AL, AR, CO, IA, ID, IL, IN, MN, KS, MO, ND, NE, OK, OR, SD, TX, WA, WY

Boss Tom’s Golden Bock | Boulevard Brewing Company
Kansas City, Missouri

The smooth, soft maltiness of this traditional Lager is complemented by a noticeable but restrained hop presence. The beer finishes with a lingering dryness and just a hint of caramel.

Availability: AK, AL, AR, CO, IA, ID, IL, IN, MN, KS, MO, ND, NE, OK, OR, SD, TX, WA, WY

Spring Fever | CB’s Brewing Company
Honeoye Falls, New York

Traditional Bavarian-style Bockbier brewed with a Lager yeast strain from Munich.

Availability: NY

Free State MaibockBrinkley’s Maibock | Free State Brewing Co.
Lawrence, Kansas

The malty sweetness of Brinkley’s is well balanced and blended with hop bitterness giving a full, rich blend of flavors. A generous quantity of pilsner malt is joined with a little bit of CaraMunich for color and some CaraPils for body along with plenty of Munich malt for flavor and aroma.

Availability: Kansas and Northwest MO

Colette | Great Divide Brewing Company
Denver, Colorado

Colette is our homage to the beers that Belgian farm workers have enjoyed for centuries. Brewed with barley, wheat and rice and fermented at high temperatures with a special blend of four different yeast strains, Colette is fruity and slightly tart, with a dry finish that makes it that rarest of treats.

Availability: nationwide and in Sweden

California Spring Beer | Hangar 24 Craft Brewery
Redlands, California

This beer is a hoppy wheat beer brewed with an American yeast and a Belgian yeast, then blended together. It is dry-hopped with Calypso, Santiam and Zythos hops. This beer is designed to be a bright, floral, hoppy expression perfect for the Southern California springtime.

Availability: Southern California

Bighorn Ryebock | Lander Brewing Company
Lander, Wyoming

Bighorn is a traditional German Bock made with a generous addition of three different rye malts. Brewed following the Reinheitsgebot with imported German hops and lagered a full six weeks.

Availability: WY

Liopard Farmhouse ALesLiopard Oir Farmhouse Ale | Lavery Brewing Company
Erie, Pennsylvania

This is our take on the type of beer a Belgian farmer would have brewed 100 years ago. We use a variety of grains and local hops. Three mixed French/Belgian yeast strains are the star of this show—fruity, spicy, fragrant, alluring and simply delicious.

Availability: PA

Good Juju | Left Hand Brewing Company
Longmont, Colorado

Fresh ginger kisses the lithe malty body, copulating with the hops in this pale ale ancestor. Opening with whiffs of sliced ginger and graham cracker, Good Juju hits the lips with warm malt sweetness, leading to spicy herbal thyme and gingery ending.

Availability: National

Maui White BeerLa Perouse White | Maui Brewing Co.
Lahaina, Hawaii

Named after La Perouse Bay in South Maui, La Perouse White is brewed using wheat and Belgian Pilsner malt and spiced with coriander and fresh, local mandarin oranges. Belgian yeast provides the traditional tart, spicy, and fruity flavor profile. Wheat protein and yeast gives a customary hazy appearance and contributes to the flavor and mouthfeel.

Availability: National

Cabin Fever Doppelbock | Millstream Brewing Company
Amana, Iowa

Our Cabin Fever Doppelbock is a thick, smooth and strong Lager brewed in the traditional doppelbock style. Plenty of Munich malts and darker caramel malts give it a rich and full-bodied flavor sure to warm up the coldest winter nights!

Availability: IA, parts of MN, SD, WI

German Pilsner | Millstream Brewing Company
Amana, Iowa

Our Lager yeast provides a clean fermentation, which produces light malt taste that lets the delicate aromatic flavors of the hops shine through in this true German-Style Pilsner. We use Czech Saaz hops that are a delight to the senses and impart an arousing aroma and satisfying flavor. The end result is a crisp refreshing beer that has a pleasant hoppy aftertaste.

Availability: IA, parts of MN, SD, WI

Red Ale | Odell Brewing Company
Fort Collins, Colorado

We’ve taken the American-style red to a whole new level by adding a variety of aggressive American hops giving this ale a distinctive fresh hop aroma and flavor.

Availability: CO, WY, NM, SD, NE, MO, KS, MN, AZ, ID

Olde BroAle | Rockyard Brewing Company
Castle Rock, Colorado

Olde BroAle is the third collaboration beer brewed in the Home Brewers Gone Wild series. This beer was brewed with the Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Availability: Boulder to Colorado Springs, CO

Patty’s Irish-Style Cream Ale | Rohrbach Brewing Company
Rochester, New York

Rohrbach’s creative interpretation of an Irish Cream Ale, this beer is smooth and balanced. Patty’s Irish-Style Cream Ale is brewed with malted wheat, honey malt, and aromatic malt from Europe, along with authentic English-style hops. Medium-bodied, creamy, and semi-sweet, this Cream Ale is refreshing pint after pint.

Availability: Sold at both Rohrbach Brewing locations in Rochester, NY along with Wegmans, Beers of the World, and Hegedorns

Saranac White IPASaranac White IPA | Saranac Brewery
Utica, New York

We’ve taken a delicious American IPA bursting with Citra hops, and given it a whole new direction by adding the refreshing fruitiness of orange peel and coriander and the softening characters of wheat malt and oats. You’ll notice the complex hop flavor you’ve come to expect in an IPA, balanced with the extraordinary bright flavor of a wheat beer.

Availability: NY, NJ, PA, CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, VT, DC, DE, MD, VA, WVA, NC, SC, AL, CA, CO, GA, IA, KA, OH, TN

Deluxe Spring Lager | Silver City Brewery
Bremerton, Washington

This golden Lager is an ideal spring beer that refreshes on a warm day yet warms on a cool day. Representative of beer brewed before prohibition, Deluxe’s exceptional refreshing character comes from the use of flaked corn in the mash.

Availability: Western WA

Rosie’s Strawberry Wheat | Six Rivers Brewery
McKinleyville, California

Rosie’s Strawberry Wheat is named after an adorable and very lazy red nosed Pitbull named Axl Rose. He loves to eat strawberries right out of the patch and earned himself his very own beer. After brewing our wheat ale we add fresh strawberries late during fermentation for a great warm weather beer to refresh any afternoon!

SKA Mexican LoggerMexican Logger | Ska Brewing Company
Durango, Colorado

Mexican Logger is brewed with a yeast strain from Mexico City and a light helping of Saaz hops. It’s the only Lager Ska regularly brews. “We had been going through a multi-summer Mexican-style cerveza phase, sometimes even drinking them instead of Ska beers when it was particularly hot out,” said Ska co-founder Dave Thibodeau. “Well, that couldn’t fly for long, so we decided to brew our own beer to put limes in, or not.”

Availability: AZ, NM, CO, MO, NE, KS, NC, IL, TX

ControversiALE | Short’s Brewing Company
Bellaire, Michigan

Loaded with hops like an IPA, yet drinks like a Pale Ale, we prefer to call it a Strong Pale Ale. The fragrant, earthy citrus-laced nose is instantly detectable. Large amounts of toasted grains and high alpha Simcoe hops form a perfect union that creates the cool sensation of toasted sourdough covered with zesty grapefruit hop marmalade.

Availability: AZ, NM, CO, MO, NE, KS, NC, IL, TX

Rye Bread Stout | Thunderhead Brewing Company
Kearney, Nebraska

Rye Bread Stout  is dry rye Stout flavored with caraway.

Availability: NE

Nice Saison Seasonal Ale | Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub
Idaho Springs, Colorado

A bright golden effervescent brew that is slightly tart with a spicy aroma. We chose the name “Nice” for our Saison because as we introduced it in festivals and tastings so many people would take a sip, and then reply “Nice”. So we felt that it was suiting for this brew to be called “Nice”.

Availability: AL, CO, FL, GA, Iowa, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, NE, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI

Hyve, Organic Honey Ale | Uinta Brewing Company
Salt Lake City, Utah

This medium-bodied golden ale is brewed with local wildflower honey.

Availability: UT, CA, IL, CO, ID, DC, DE, MD, NJ, NC, MA

Upland MaibockMaibock Bavarian-Style Lager | Upland Brewing Co.
Bloomington, Indiana

For centuries, the beer-loving people of Bavaria have served their famous Bock beers in the spring, and we are glad to bring this ancient tradition to your local beer hall. In Germany, many of the local Bocks are brewed by Catholic monks, and while we at Upland may not have taken our vows, our Maibock delivers an authentic Bavarian taste–a full body with a complex, sweet malt character, balanced by a sturdy German hop profile that creates a crisp, dry finish.

Availability: IN, WI, and Louisville, KY

Meghan StoreyMeghan Storey, the Brewers Association’s Web Editor, has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer for the past four years. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from the University of Mississippi, and has recently relocated to Nashville, TN. She loves to introduce friends to new craft beers and food pairings. Since beginning work on she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.

Meghan Storey has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer since graduating from the University of Mississippi. Now living in Nashville, TN, with her big yellow dog Wally, she loves introducing friends to new craft beer and food pairings. Since beginning work on she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.

Read more from Meghan Storey