After approximately 59,827 feet of snow this winter, we’re more than ready to shake off the lingering chill and get outside. And now that it’s staying light into the evening hours, it’s easy to take advantage of seasonal drinking at your favorite park, backyard patio, or stoop. Try one of these beers to ward off bad memories of slush lakes and polar vortices, and get a jump start on enjoying warmer weather.
Magic Hat Pistil (4.5 percent ABV)
Besides its psychedelic label, this beer’s claim to fame rests on the fresh dandelions added during the brewing process. The greens contribute an earthy, vegetal undercurrent to citrus and bread flavors, and the beer finishes on a dry, tart note. It might sound gimmicky, but the Pistil shines, and its light bodied crispness pairs well with green salad and fresh goat cheese. Plus, with such low ABV, you can easily down more than one and still feel fresh as a daisy.
Founders All Day IPA (4.7 percent ABV)
A well-loved classic from the popular Grand Rapids, MI, brewery, this IPA’s citrus and green apple notes, along with its low alcohol content, make for an enjoyable and lengthy day-drinking session. Toasted wheat bread and a slight bitterness satisfy a taste for hops without overdoing it. This is the six-pack to take to the park on those perfect spring days when all you want to do is kick back and bask in the sun.
Blue Point Mosaic Session IPA (4.8 percent ABV)
Taking its name from one of the three types of hops used, this light bodied IPA is a delicious pastiche of tropical fruits and flowers. Pineapples, mangoes, and lemons call to mind the not-so-distant summer, while the dry, hoppy finish balances out tiki sweetness. You’ll want to drink several in a row, which is great since the low ABV staves off both guilt and overindulgence.
Otter Creek Copper Ale (5 percent ABV)
The Middlebury, VT, brewery has been putting out this ale since its founding in 1991, and with good reason. Light bodied with notes of caramel and dark fruits, this altbier is a well-rounded pour with a satisfying, mildly hoppy finish. Versatile and easy to drink, it pairs great with just about anything — so why limit yourself? Take it on the first camping trip of the year, or just quaff it on your fire escape.
Saranac Prism (5.2 percent ABV)
If you’re the kind of person who picks their own strawberries and can’t wait for mojito season, this one’s for you. Brewed with spices and “natural flavor,” this wheat ale features peach and apricot notes bright with fruit juice but not off-putting. Effervescent carbonation and floral hops balance the sweetness, making this beer perfect for your picnic basket or even dessert.
Southern Tier Eurotrash Pilz (5.2 percent ABV)
Looking for a crowd-pleaser? This crisp, refreshing pilsner recommends itself to just about anyone who likes beer. With a fresh grassiness bolstered by malt and wheat notes, it goes down like water and lingers just long enough to remind you to take another sip. Pick up a six-pack for your adult dodgeball league or the first rooftop party of the year, but don’t expect to find seconds.
Samuel Adams Cold Snap (5.3 percent ABV)
Everyone’s favorite large craft brewery offers this new seasonal, a hazy gold witbier that bridges the late winter/early spring weeks when it’s 60 degrees one minute and furiously snowing the next. Notes of apricot, rhubarb, and fresh citrus mingle with nutty bread and sharp coriander, resulting in a sweet finish with no hint of bitterness. Drink up while the weather is changing, knowing that even if yet another blizzard dumps on the city, you’re covered.
Peak Organic Simcoe Spring Ale (5.4 percent ABV)
Touting its seasonality on the label, this goldenrod ale comes through with fresh floral and pine notes calling to mind bright new buds on an evergreen. A hoppy nose redolent of late-winter grapefruit leads into a crisp, medium-bodied pour with a satisfying finish. The Portland, ME-based brewery uses organic, sustainable, and mostly local ingredients, so you can drink easy knowing this refreshing beer does no harm to nature.
Ithaca Beer Company Ground Break (6.2 percent ABV)
Just as baby plants push through the soil to get to the sun, the saison-level ABV in this beer helps wake you up out of a long winter’s torpor. A clean, crisp pour with plenty of sweet and tart citrus flavors, the Ground Break features appropriately earthy herbaceous notes and a good dose of hops. Try it for your next breakfast beer, whenever you need a pick-me-up, or to revive yourself after a leisurely walk by the river.
The Bruery’s Saison de Lente (6.5 percent ABV)
Let your nature freak loose with this funky saison made with wild yeast. While the brewers recommend bottle-aging for up to two years, just try to resist the earthy mineral notes and fresh hops that dominate this dry, tart brew. Effervescent bubbles and a pleasing astringency are mellowed by bready flavors and soft fruits, but be careful — you’ll want to pour this large format bottle gently so as not to disturb the yeast sediment.