While there may still be snow on the ground and freezing cold weather ahead, brewers are deciding it's time to start looking ahead to spring. Beer drinkers must be, too, as one local seasonal spring beer is already flying off the shelves.
Aside from the obvious time of year correlation, the idea behind spring beers is pretty simple.
"Basically anything that would be good to drink in the sun outside," is Jason Alvey's definition, owner of the Four Firkins in St. Louis Park.
So if you can't quite fathom the thought of another two months of winter, think spring with these top spring beers sold at the Four Firkins.
1. Capital Brewery Blonde Doppelbock
This German-style Wisconsin lager is rich in both its golden amber color and flavor, with a strong, malty taste and sweet, candy-like finish. An added bonus for those trying to forget winter all together: It tops our spring beer list in alcohol content, coming in just under 8 percent.
2. Sierra Nevada Glissade This brand-new Maibock is Alvey's personal favorite spring brew. Complex in flavor, the beer has minimal hoppiness and a slight bitter finish. With flavors that complement the season, the name fits, too. Mai is German for the month of May, and bock means strong and billy goat, which Alvey tells us is why you'll see them on some Bock labels.
3. Sam Adams Noble Pils Another new one this season, this pilsner replaces the Sam Adams White Ale. Named for its use of all five types of the old-school European noble hop, its crisp and refreshing taste and floral aroma end with a fruity finish.
4. Surly Bitter Brewer Being the fourth biggest retailer of Surly brews in the Twin Cities, you can bet the Four Firkins is a fan. This English-style pale ale has a sweet, malty taste with an orange marmalade flavor. Good as it sounds, you're going to have to wait for this one. It won't hit the shelves for another few months, late spring or early summer in Surly's traditional 4-pack cans.
5. Summit Unchained Series #3 IRA Summit's third brew in its Unchained series, in which brewers get full reign to create a new beer, this India-style rye ale is the product of Summit's first attempt using spicy rye malts and its own new Citra hops. With lots of rye, hops, and a solid malt base, the brew has a spiciness that locals seem to be taking a liking to. Released last Friday, Alvey said the shop's first 20 cases of the brew sold out over the weekend.