There is nothing better then a light and refreshing shandy after a hard days work on a hot summer day. Or a nice dark and heavy imperial when you’re keeping warm by the fire and watching the snow fall around the holidays. But with almost two hundred styles, where do you begin?
Let’s start with my favorite brew season, summer. A good summer brew should be light and crisp and should go down nice and smooth. It’s that perfect drink on a hot day at the beach or in the backyard for a bar-b-que with the family. Most summer ales will have a subtle fruity taste like orange, lemon or pineapple. They usually have a lower alcohol content also so that you can still enjoy them when you’re out working in the yard under the hot sun. Just make sure it’s ice cold.
Fall is another big season for microbreweries. There is a good chance that once September hits, any liquor store that you go into is going to have dozens of pumpkin type ales available. The leaves are changing and you’re nights are spent outside, huddled around the fire pit. The only thing missing is a nice, flavorful brown ale or a tasty Oktoberfest brew.
For most of us, Winter is a time to stay inside and keep warm. It’s also a time for flavorful, heavy bodied brews that leave you feeling warm and full. Unlike the summer ales, winter brews usually have a higher alcohol content so that you can warm your bones on those cold winter nights. The holiday season also brings out a lot of spiced brews which can be perfectly paired with a big family meal.
Finally the deep freeze of winter is over and it’s time to get back outside and take care of some spring cleaning. Spring brews tend to be lighter than winter brews and share similar flavors that you would find in a summer brew. You won’t find many holiday themed brews during spring but a nice stout on St. Paddy’s Day always just feels right. Nevertheless, spring is definitely the season where we transition from drinking those heavy winter lagers to light, crisp ales in order to gear you up for those long awaited hot summer days.
So no matter what the season is, you should always be able to find that perfect brew that hits the spot. And remember that you can always stop in your local microbrewery and sample their finest brews and possibly even get a tour!