New beers, new beers! While we’re a fan of returning seasonals and old standbys for spring—give me a Saison Dupont any warm day—it’s a treat to see some newly bottled and canned beers debut for the season. Here are some of the best of the crop, ready for your cooler, backpack or picnic blanket:
Boulevard Heavy Lifting IPA
This new year-round IPA based on Boulevard’s taproom-only Mid-Coast IPA opens with green onion and bright, grassy aromas. A blend of five hops explains the complexity of flavor, which veers away from the aroma’s greenness and toward citrusy notes of mango and tangerine. Firm bitterness ends the sip succinctly. We’d gladly drink this alongside grilled chicken and pineapple kebabs.
Stone Pale Ale 2.0
Not everything is written in Stone: 19 years after the brewery debuted its pale ale, brewer Mitch Steele has retooled the recipe, now dubbed Pale Ale 2.0. A new Bavarian hop variety and an altered malt bill are quite different than the original recipe, but the overall flavor impression is of an old-school pale ale—spicy hops, not-too-sweet toffee malt and a hint of English pale ale bittering hop character. Remarkably, what’s new tastes retro.
Fort Collins Brewing Major Tom’s Pomegranate Wheat
Fruited wheat beers can be a gamble. But give this new spring release a chance—the pomegranate addition isn’t sweet or even discernibly fruity. Pomegranate tartness links up with lemony wheat flavor, with some peppercorn spice laced throughout the sip. If you’ve previously tried FCB’s Major Tom’s American Wheat, this is a new replacement for that summer seasonal with pumped-up pomegranate that reclassifies it as a fruit beer.
Harpoon Brewing Take 5
This new year-round session IPA from Harpoon is so brand-spankin’-new, it’s not even in proper bottles yet (we received an early sample). Get ready for its draft-only debut May 18 and bottle arrival in mid-June; this is a version that stands out in a sea of all session everything. Hop flavor matches the aroma wafting off the pour: scallions, pine, green grass. At 4.3%, it packs a ton of ultrafresh flavor, with a not-too-bitter finish that invites another sip. It’s the rare IPA that’s actually refreshing, too, making it a strong cooler contender.
Victory Kirsch Gose
It’s traditional in Germany to add a bit of strawberry, cherry or woodruff syrup to a berliner weisse or gose to add a touch of sweetness. Drawing lightly on that practice for inspiration, Victory has released a new tart and lightly salty wheat beer made with cherry juice. There’s a cherry cola start to the sip, but the tartness of the stone fruit rushes right in to nip the sweetness in the bud. It’s reminiscent of a Dr. Brown’s cherry soda, but with amplified tartness.
Devils Backbone Trail Angel Weiss
“But where’s the banana?” our editor-in-chief often asks, somewhat exasperated, when we’re tasting American-made hefeweizens. Luckily, this new-to-cans hefe delivers on the banana flavor we seek in the style, along with soft lemon notes, a relatively light body and remarkably refreshing finish. If you shy from drinking hefes on hot days for fear of their heavy, bready quality, give this one a shot; it’s much lighter and more drinkable than you’d imagine.
Ale Asylum Unshadowed
Another excellent new-to-cans hefe, this delicate version from Ale Asylum is super-sunny and balanced. It checks off all the style’s flavor calling cards: banana, clove, sweet lemon. It benefits from the wheat’s light tartness, which plays off sweeter fruit notes for an even-keeled sip.