As winter comes to a close, flowers start to bloom, and we start to remember what it’s like to go outside without a jacket, celebrate the springtime with a few brews from some of the country’s best breweries. Whether you’re looking for a Saturday sipper or a back porch pounder, this list has everything you need to find the perfect beer for almost any occasion, activity, or lazy Sunday. So, let’s raise a glass to the Season of New Beginnings.
- Crushworhty Lo-Cal Citrus Wheat
What does it taste like? Bursting with fresh citrus flavor, the Crushworthy Lo-Cal Citrus Wheat that’s perfect for soaking up the springtime sun on a picnic blanket. This new beer is made with a puree of fresh lemon and oranges and a smooth wheat finish. Boasting a low 4.0 percent ABV and only 105 calories per can, this is Great Lakes Brewing’s first “better for you” beer designed to fit an active, health-minded lifestyle.
Who makes it? In addition to brewing phenomenal beer, Great Lakes believes in brewing good and sustainably. The waste from their brewing process is used to make everything from soap to barbecue sauce, and they sponsor over 15 arts and cultural institutions in their Ohio neighborhood.
- The Great Return IPA
What does it taste like? This bold, fresh-hopped IPA, is overflowing with ripe grapefruit flavor and the pine-filled bite of the season’s first hop harvest. Whether you’re recovering from a hike or relaxing in a hammock, The Great Return will have you returning to the fridge for more.
Who makes it? For each barrel of The Great Return sold, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is donating $5 to further the restoration of the James River home of the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon memorialized on the label.
- Colette Farmhouse Ale
What does it taste like? With ripe fruit flavors and a dry, tart finish this funky farmhouse ale is a masterclass in the ancient Belgian tradition of brewing. Made with barley, wheat, rice, and four different strains of yeast, this bright classic is a rare treat on any day. At 6.5 percent ABV Colette is a great beer to make the most of any spring day.
Who makes it? Great Divide Brewing Co., is a classic brewery that helped establish Denver as one of the craft beer capitals of the world. With a history of producing world-class beers, they continue to create year-round favorites that are perfect for any occasion. As good neighbors, the team at Great Divide raised over $575,000 for local charities, partnered with habitat for humanity to address Denver’s housing issues, and diverted over 99% of their waste from landfills.
- Joyous IPA
What does it taste like? Packed with fresh, juicy hops and notes of papaya, honey, and tangelo, the Joyous India Pale Ale is nothing to be taken lightly at 6.5 percent ABV. This once-a-year brew pairs perfectly with grilled steak, cracked pepper, and spring air. This time of year nothing makes me more joyous than a strong, juicy IPA.
Who makes it? Started by two brothers, Tröegs Independent Brewing keeps everything local by supporting small artists, donating to local charities, and purchasing the best ingredients from farmers in their community. They’re so focused on freshness that they run their own sustainable farm near their brewery in Hershey, PA.
- Montucky Cold Snacks
What does it taste like? This crisp, refreshing American brew is perfect after hitting the slopes during spring ski season or for cooling off with your toes in the sun-warmed sand. Made without fillers, it’s a clean, crushable beer that’ll keep you reaching into the cooler all day long. However you’re spending your spring, a couple of Cold Snacks will always hit the spot.
Who makes it? While most breweries are focused on crafting the perfect beer, Bozeman, Montana’s Montucky Cold Snacks is focused on giving back to the community, and producing a refreshing beer is just a happy byproduct. They donate eight percent of their profits to charities stretching from Alaska to Georgia, so you sip some Cold Snacks knowing the profits from each can will support food banks, The PRIDE Foundation, and dozens of other good causes.
What does it taste like? When waves of caramel and citrus wash over your palette, you know it can only be one beer, Lunch. At seven percent ABV, this decadent IPA is a reminder that sometimes the best meals come in liquid form, but the name actually comes from a whale with a bite taken out of her fin often spotted off the coast of Maine since the early ’80s. This beer is a reminder that good things can happen when you just keep swimming.
Who makes it? The two brothers behind the Maine Beer Company believe we should all “Do What’s Right,” and they participate in 1% For The Planet. One percent of all sales go to a range of environmental nonprofits like Allied Whale. The brewery is powered in large part by a massive solar array, and starting this June, 100 percent of the energy used to power Maine Beer Company will come from a combination of onsite and offsite clean energy sources.
- Easy Sport Rally Ale
What does it taste like? Brewed with electrolytes and a hint of tangerine peel this is a clean, easy drinker with a low calorie and carb content. At just 4.1 percent ABV it can be enjoyed over and over, as you make the most of every beautiful day. When we start to remember that a beautiful day is something that shouldn’t be wasted, Boulevard Brewing’s Easy Sport rally ale is specifically designed to refresh you on those precious warm, sunny days.
Who makes it? Boulevard Brewing famously never lets anything go to waste, and their brewery in Kansas City, MO doesn’t even have a dumpster. Spent grain from their brewing process goes to local farmers for cattle feed, and some of those farmers grow wheat that grows straight back into the beer.
- Pale Ale
What does it taste like? With intense aromas of pine and hints of juicy lemon, this is the beer that got most of us into craft beer, and most homebrewers, as well as long-time pros, hold this beer close to their hearts. For any occasion from a scenic fishing trip to music in the park, this classic Pale Ale is the perfect pairing.
Who makes it? As one of the most famous sustainable craft breweries in the world, Sierra Nevada recently extended their recycling operations outside its own walls and helped over 50 independent breweries near their Mills River, NC brewery recycle brewing waste. At their Berkley, Chico, and Mills River breweries, sustainability is a top concern. As one of the breweries that helped start the craft beer revolution, it’s no wonder they’re leading the charge towards zero-waste craft beer.