Sponsored Guest Post from Northern Brewer:
Springtime homebrew embraces the transition and excitement of the season. Amber colored ales, full-bodied and tart wheat beers, even something a little more robust for those rainy days. It marks the passing of the Imperial this or that, and ushers in casual brew days, shorter fermentation periods, and the promise of friends and BBQ to help enjoy the next 5 gallon batch.
Let’s look at a few beers that embody the season.
First, the Speckled Heifer: Those among us who are or were farmboys and -girls will correctly identify them as Holsteins; to the rest of the citified, sissified world they’re “spotted cows.” This multigrained Midwestern take on the American cream ale is an uncomplicated, unfussy, lovable guzzler. Pouring straw gold with a snowy pillow of froth, the nose is gentle and sweet, full of its consituent blend of malted and flaked barley and corn, and the flavor is more of the same. Hops give a little whisper of flowers and spice from the background. A tranquil time-out in a pint glass, a pastoral idyll, a sociable session ale dairyland-style: hey, sometimes a beer is just a beer.
Second, the Lefse Blonde: From the little-known Lutheran monasteries of northern Minnesota comes this artisanal Abbey beer. Pale, self-effacing, and easy to get along with, this Belgian-style blonde ale features the same generous malt profile and spicy yeast character of stronger Dubbels and Tripels, but its more modest gravity means you can enjoy a couple and remain upright and hard-working past Compline.
Third, the Head Scratcher India Pale Weizen: Dry hops in a Hefeweizen: awesomeness meets totally sweet, or more like mudflaps on a sleek Bavarian roadster? Perhaps it’s better to think of it as a Jules Verne-esque sci-fi Hanseatic steampunk steam beer by way of a wheat field, or a Dampfbier (non-wheat beer fermented with Weizen yeast) dragged through the hopyards of first the Hallertau and then the Willamette Valley … behind a mudflapped Bavarian roadster. A medium-bodied, doughy and pillowy Hefeweizen is propped up with some caramel malt, the better to withstand a high bittering charge of German hops. Fermentation with a traditional Weizen yeast before staggered additions dry-hopped Cascade. Wheaty goodness with toffee-like caramel, a lashing of not-unreasonable bitterness, a bouquet of yeasty plum-and-banana suffused with a little hoppy grapefruit citrus showboating – no fruit was harmed in the brewing of this wheat beer.
Keep Spring alive for a while longer by brewing up one of these beers, sharing it with friends, and marking those Spring memories with the taste of beers that embody the season.