NoCo Spring Beer Guide presented by The Hop Grenade

Photo taken by Kelly Buster.

Us beer nerds employed by THG taproom get a first look into new styles and new beers before they hit the taps, and gosh darn it are we excited for the change of season.  

“The arrival of warmer weather is an exciting time for craft brewers. They take pride in tailoring new styles for a new season and allow themselves to get creative to design the perfect pairing for Spring activities. It’s right about now that they dip into their stashes of fresh, and often new, hops for that are bursting with flavor. Expect to see light and session-able ales and lagers with big floral aromas and clean and crisp finishes. Your dad’s lawnmower beer doesn’t stand a chance against the flavorful, easy drinking craft beer that you’ll find on the shelves this Spring. Don’t be afraid to try new and unfamiliar brews this time of year. It’s the perfect time to expand your horizons and find your new favorite beer.” Justin Crossley, founder of The Brewing Network and The Hop Grenade, whom I like to refer to as my “podcast famous” boss.

Jeff Wilson, THG beer buyer, has the privilege of sampling most of the beer before ordering it for our dear customers to experience. He is most excited about bright, hoppy, crisp Pale Ales and IPAs. As a huge supporter/lover of Odell Brewing, Jeff can’t wait to get his hands on Hammer Chain Fresh Grind Double IPA ringing in a 8% ABV. “Named after the spinning blades of our custom-built machine that pulverizes each whole-flower hop, Hammer Chain is brewed with meticulously sourced, vibrant American hop varieties and packed with notes of drippy tropical fruit, radiant peach, and sweet stonefruit,” quoted from the brand packaging.

Photo taken by Kelly Buster

Another exciting IPA is Fiction Beer Co’s Headology, a Triple New England IPA Quadruple Dry Hopped. The long style description is absolutely deserving of your time. It drinks much easier than a beer at 10.3% ABV with 87 IBUs. Brewed with Experimental 06297, El Dorado, Azacca and Huell Melon hops, notes of creamsicle on the nose and tastes of mango and grapefruit. I don’t usually focus on a Denver beer for this column, but since this will be served in our taproom (until it’s gone), it is absolutely worth the mention.

Another refreshing Spring style is a gose, pronounce GO-SAH. Rachel Paul, our kitchen queen has loved gose’s since first tasting them in Austin, Texas. She describes her experience as wanting to marry the style, but no one would let her. Sitting on a patio in the warm, not yet hot weather and sipping on a sharp, refreshing sour with a slight saltiness is the epitome of Spring drinking to Rachel.

She is looking forward to the Mash Lab Brewing, Grapefruit Mango Gose. At 5% ABV, this kettle sour gose is brewed with sea salt, coriander and 170 pounds of grapefruit and mango puree creating a refreshingly tart and citrusy balance.  Another gose to look for is Roll in Ze Rosé from Verboten Brewing. This 4.7% ABV brew is a prickly pear, cranberry and cherry version of their award-winning salty, sour, unfiltered wheat gose.

One of our shift leads and bubbly beertender, Britta Smith is ready for some fruity Belgian styles to hit her tulip glass. Jessup Farm Barrel House, Next of Kin(g) Imperial Saison w/ brettanomyces and pineapple puree is oak barrel-aged and dry-hopped at 8.9% ABV. Another beer brewed in the outskirts of Denver worth a mention, since we’ll have it on tap, is New Image, Flora dry-hopped sour. Brewed with the intent of combining their favorite hop and yeast characteristics, tropical and wild, Flora creates a mellow, funky freshness at 7.5% ABV.

Photo taken by Kelly Buster.

As the community outreach coordinator and manager, I spend half of my life at The Hop Grenade and get to drink most the amazing beer and cider samples alongside Jeff. And I have been noticing a trend in breweries that I find to intriguing; hard seltzers. SO many breweries, many local, are producing hard seltzers and it made me think…is hard seltzer beer? Most hard seltzer is fermented with brewed-malt (“clear malt”) or brewed-sugar (non-malt sugar), with fruit flavoring added, then finished with carbonated water. Under Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations, both malt and sugar based hard seltzers are considered beer, but only malt-based hard seltzers are also considered malt beverages. I have no doubt a compelling argument could still be made that hard seltzer is not beer, but technically it’s not, not beer.

With that, I am including hard seltzers produced by breweries on my list of exciting new Spring craft beer styles. Verboten Brewing released a 4.7% hard seltzer with cranberry and orange puree which I have no doubt will quench my thirst, as well as my gluten-free husbands. Oskar Blues expanded their brand with Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water with four, 5% ABV flavors: classic lime, cucumber peach, lemon agave hibiscus and melon basil. While the initial release occurred earlier this year, I think these light, fruity, almost beers will be much appreciated after a spring hike at Lory State Park or while rafting down the Poudre.

Help me discover more spring beers; tag me on instagram @savannah_sips with YOUR favorite seasonal beer. Cheers!

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