One of the great things about the craft beer movement is that it enables us to change our beers with the seasons. Just as you don’t want a heavy, wintery Barolo on a fresh spring day, the same goes with your beer.
Look for a May bock (Maibock), a style that is brewed to celebrate springtime. Hellesbock (light bock), an identical recipe, is brewed throughout the year but gets the special name for springtime. A lager beer, it is light in color, although heavier in body and higher in alcohol, than a light-hued Pilsner.
Samuel Adams has brewed Apine Spring especially for the season. A bright, citrusy, unfiltered lager, it’s a bit darker in color—golden—than a typical Hellesbock/Maibock. The citrus and spice come from Noble Tettnang hops, grown at the bottom of the Alps. A slightly sweet malt character comes from the German Pilsner and honey malts. The ABV is 5.5%.
The brewery sees it as “the perfect transition from winter’s heavier brews to the lighter beers of summer…[with] the balanced maltiness and hoppiness of a Helles, the smoothness and slightly higher alcohol of a traditional spring bock, and the unfiltered appearance of a Kellerbier.”
It’s time for a refreshing draught of Alpine Spring. Photo courtesy Samuel Adams | Boston Beer Company.
Alpine Spring pairing suggestions include grilled chicken and Italian fare. Here are more food pairing ideas.
OTHER SPRING-APPROPRIATE BEERS
BOCKBIER. Bock beer, a dark lager, has a strong malt flavor and full mouthfeel. It has that “refreshing lager zing” that makes it taste like springtime. Bock is the German word for strong, referring to a strong beer brewed from barley malt.
DOPPELBOCK. Double bock originated during Lent. Since 1654 the monks of St. Francis of Paula in Munich had brewed bock beer. Sometime after 1799, they began to brew a thicker beer to provide them with nourishment during the Lenten fast. It was called Salvator (Latin for savior). Later, the beer was sold to the general population as Doppelbock. Doppelbock is German for extra-strong—around 7.5% alcohol by volume, or stronger. It is a bottom-fermented beer, tawny or dark brown in color. It’s a southern Germany spring specialty, seasonally brewed in March and April. The monks’ brewery, Paulaner, is still making beer.
WHEAT BEER. Wheat beer (Witbier in Belgium, Weissbier in Germany) is a lighter style. Some brews are spiced with coriander and orange peel—not unlike the citrus-spice flavors of Alpine Spring—for a sunnier disposition. Wheat beer is brewed with a significant proportion of wheat, which provides a distinctive pale color, creamy texture and a light, sweet flavor, often with fruit and spice notes.
LAMBIC. Belgium is the home of a variety of fruit beer known as lambic. Lambics are typically wheat beer recipes brewed with fruits ranging from cherries and raspberries (the classics) to mango and peach (the moderns). While most beers are distinguished by their flavors of hops and malt, lambic is an ancient style of beer that is naturally bone dry, acidic and effervescent. It is bottom-fermented. The wort, often kept in ventilated attics, is allowed to spontaneously ferment with wild, airborne yeasts.
Check out the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.
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