March is a month of contradictions.
Winter and spring. Daylight and standard. Lion and lamb. But for all its waxing and waning, March is the first milestone of the beer year, when most release calendars initially turn over. As we say goodbye to the first seasonals of 2019 and welcome the new batch, this dichotomous month displays its greatest promise: more.
March is only the beginning. From here, the beers only multiply. So if you’ve survived this far, you’ve got a lot to look forward to. Here are five must-try beers that dropped on this month as a harbinger of what’s to come.
Indeed Mexican Honey Light
Lager, 5.2% ABV, 10 IBU
Indeed Mexican Honey: inventive, refreshing, great for drinking outside. But at 8.7%, the imperial pilsner is enough to stop you in your tracks. Seems the beer mavens at Indeed have answered the prayers of day drinkers across Minnesota and released a 5.2% ABV Mexican Honey Light in cans last month—and hallelujah, it’s even better than the original. The Amarillo-hopped lager still has the floral honeycomb character from the orange blossom honey and the crisp finish, but with nearly half the alcohol. If you believe this cadre of local brewers, that’s the right move.
Eastlake Rad Easy
Wheat beer, 4.7% ABV, n/a IBU
Trendy hops play well with IPAs, of course, but when they’re dosed into a wheat beer, something special happens. Eastlake’s new Rad Easy pairs a hazy-body American wheat with some hefty Amarillo and Ekuanot hops, making for a summery citrus sipper. Hats off to Eastlake, too, for notching the ABV down to 4.7%, meaning you can take this one down all afternoon. If you’re feelin’ frisky for some more hop juice, trying mixing with their Sun Dogs IPA.
Heller bock, 6.8% ABV, 36 IBU
It’s bock season, and while Schell’s might have the most iconic bock on the market with their annually celebrated maibock, traditional revivalists Utepils are throwing their hat in the ring to be considered amongst the German legends of Spring. Their Springbok is a warming, sweet beer made to carry you from the icy wilds of February into the sunny promise of March. The Munich malt sweetness is balanced off with a sturdy dose of Noble hops, making each sip clean and easy. This is how Europeans have been transitioning seasons for over 400 years.
Insight Wicked Thicket
Wheat beer, 5.3% ABV, n/a IBU
Insight’s take on the hopped witbier is a little more true to its Belgian roots than Eastlake’s. Wicked Thicket, their new spring seasonal, leads with the spicy, herbal character drinkers associate with trappist beers. It bellows lemon, orange, and coriander. It goes down like a classic, but the one tradition-bucking X factor is the grapefruit punch of Citra that comes at the end. A very purposeful hopping heaped atop this Brussels classic.
Fair State Strata
IPA, 6.2% ABV, 25 IBU
The hazemasters at Fair State Brewing Co-op are back at it again, this time with a single-hop IPA showcasing the juicy softness of Strata, the hop that featured prominently in their previous limited release, Mr. Falcon. Strata—as it is so creatively named—is double-dry-hopped with Strata and Strata alone, leaning in on the hop’s pineapple cushiness. It has all the plush haziness of your typical New England IPA, but there are no competing flavors, just a straight-down-the-middle showcase for one of the industry’s most emergent hops. For those who prefer a bit more diversity in their bittering, Pahlay’Ahlay pale ale just made it’s annual return as well.
Brewers interested in being featured in Local Suds should email [email protected].