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TPN’s resident beer nerd picks the best spring brews

By Jackson Crowder / Senior Staff Writer

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At long last, spring is springing. The lingering traces of winter are (slowly) disappearing and the sun is shining a bit more brightly than it was just a few weeks ago. What does this all mean? New beers to drink, obviously.

Spring is a versatile beer season — not so cold that it demands something heavy but not so hot as to demand something light, either. A good spring beer occupies the comfortable middle, loaning itself well to drinking while watching the NCAA Tournament inside or while kicking back on your porch and enjoying the sun. 

Here are a few suggestions for good beers to get your spring started off right.

Brewed for summer but perfect for spring, Southern Tier Hop Sun is a widely available, can’t-miss choice. Like a lot of choices that go well with the emerging season, Hop Sun is wheat-based, but is hopped to the point where you might not guess it. It’s light on body with a pale golden hue but is big on flavor, starting like a lemony hefeweizen but finishing like a classic American pale ale. Refreshing, flavorful and just complicated enough to keep its drinker coming back, Hop Sun will never lead a springtime consumer astray. Brewed since 2004 and now a stalwart in Southern Tier’s seasonal lineup, Hop Sun is available just about anywhere that sells good beer.

For the more adventurous out there in search of a more dangerous brew, try Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker Double IPA. True to its intimidating name, Palate Wrecker is a big, strong beer, weighing in at 9.5 percent ABV. Though it’s one to be careful with, it’s also one of the more rewarding beers available today. If nothing else, it certainly wakes the palate up after a long winter of stouts and porters. Palate Wrecker is one of the more hop-forward beers available, but for those experienced with the curious little green flowers, it’s also one of the more nuanced ales out there. Behind the hop bitterness is a strong flavor of grapefruit that helps mask its high alcohol content and takes some of the sting out of the hops. This characteristic adds tremendous balance to the beer, giving it a refreshing quality that is missing in many double IPAs.

Finally, every season has a go-to beer that just seems too perfect to ignore. For spring, this is Harpoon’s UFO White. This rather ubiquitous wheat beer is available pretty much anywhere from beer distributors to gas stations — depending on where you are —, but always seems to get the job done. Its body, thick with wheat and yeast, can stand up well to colder temperatures but is also light enough for when the weather begins to turn. The pleasant orange peel and coriander notes, as well as the forgiving 4.8 percent ABV, make it an ideal beer for just about any spring situation. It’s perfectly appropriate for a cookout, a baseball game, a cool night by the fire pit or for just soaking up some long-absent sun. 

Spring is finally here and it couldn’t have come fast enough. Fortunately, there’s a bevy of good beer to ease us all out of the cold and on toward summer.

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TPN’s resident beer nerd picks the best spring brews