Like the blue haired snow birds of Florida we say goodbye to our hop laden friends who have kept us company all winter. But fear not these delicious warming winter beers will surely be back when they are most needed. But for now the bone chilling cold of winter is gone and warm breezes of spring are well upon us. So we say hello to a myriad of seasonal Springs beers to help make that transition from winter snow to the sweat of summer.
Springs beers are some of the most unique as there really isn’t any defining style for this beer. You will find some repeated flavors such as fruit like apricots (Dogfish Head Aprihop), oranges (Blue Moon Rising Moon Spring Ale), strawberries (Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager) or pear (Southampton Biere de Mars), and springs standard – honey (Sam Adams Noble Pils). But fruits do not cover the gamut that is spring seasonal beers. On the shelves you will find IPA’s, Pilsners, Hefeweizens and the probably the most popular of springs selections – Bocks.
Bocks were created in Germany during the 14th century. They were the beer of choice during the Roman-Catholic religious event known as Lent. Unsurprisingly as this event happens during spring the tradition of drinking these bock beers caught on and have now become a standard offering for spring beer.
The idea of special beers for spring is strongest in Germany, especially in the state of Bavaria and its capital, Munich. Spring beers there are usually strong lagers, often dark in color. German brewers call a very strong product a Bockbier. Some even have “Double” Bocks. In Munich, a Doppelbock is regarded as a strong warmer to cure the winter blues as spring arrives. A third variation is the May Bock, sometimes paler and drier.
Without going too in depth, Bock beer is simply a very malty beer with little hop bitterness that carries an abv of about 6% or higher. My personal favorite type of bock beer is Maibock or May Bock. This beer is a bit softer than the other bocks and carries a lower abv. That being said there is still a high level of malt in this beer compared to hops. The stick to the roof of your mouth sweetness that you find in the other bocks is still present but just not as strong. A good sample of this style is Gordon Biersch Maibock.
I hope before this season is over you will have the opportunity to sample some of these fine beers and who knows maybe the spring seasonals will become your favorite beers. So here is to spring and the coming of warm weather and to the many different spring beers we have to enjoy until this season is over. Cheers!