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Spring into Beer

Submitted by on April 29, 2009 – 9:27 AMOne Comment
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Step outside mid-April and chances are you’ll feel good.  The weather is heating up, blue skies are no longer fond memories, and everything is in full bloom. Springtime has come, and with it more parties, barbeques, and beers than ever before. Prep yourself with this guide on how to spot the good stuff, and show up strong.

Fresh is Best

For the same reason that fresh fruits and veggies pack way more taste than their canned and preserved counterparts, fresh beer is bursting with more flavor and aroma than that same stale sixpack you’ve seen in the display case the last three weeks. Beer is a food product and it has a limited shelf life. Why settle for the same-old-same when you could be enjoying the most recent releases breweries have to offer? If you see something new at your regular spot, don’t hesitate. Newly released flavorful beer is the alcoholic equivalent of freshly baked cookies.

The Plan of Action

Think about where you’re headed and where you’re going to be drinking your beer. Spring is full of a variety of activities, indoor and out, and with just a little thought your beer will enhance those activities (as it ought to). Going to the pub for a few drinks to start off the weekend? Stick to the lower-alcohol stuff and you’ll be able to enjoy many without getting loaded. Picking up some brew on your way to a barbeque? A good idea is a variety pack-a great conversation starter with a number of beers to try, and it’s often got that brewery’s latest release (aha!) The idea is to give a moment’s consideration to where you’ll be and who will be there with you. It’s a great way to navigate through the nearly endless beer choices we’re always being assaulted with, and you don’t have to stick to the “fizzy yellow lager” norm.

To Dine or Not to Dine?

Ah, yes, the Great American Barbeque. The situations are endless: propane, charcoal, campfire. Day or night. Loud and boisterous, or low-key. Despite all that, what remains constant is the omnipresence of barbequed food, and here is a chance for you to hit one out of the park. There are endless ways to pair beer and food, and grilled foods are no exception. If it’s the staple burgers-and-dogs, you’ll want something balanced and light (pale ales, amber lagers) to wash away all that saltiness. With darker meats like pork, sausages, brats and steaks, the sweetness of the meat and the heavy barbeque sauces beg for a clean, bold taste (a strong IPA) to cut right through the thickness and cleanse the palate. And if its just snack food, smooth, sweet tastes (red and amber ales) will wash down your chips and salsa much better than the youngin’s soda.

Another often-overlooked barbeque strategy: barbeque with your beer. It’s as easy as taking a beer whose taste you enjoy (the one in your hand) and basting it onto your chicken, steak, or whatever you’re cooking up while it’s grilling. The flavors that emerge will be subtle and delicious. Try this! You will not regret it.

Come Together

Springtime means warmth, growth, and activity. One of the beautiful things about beer is its ability to adapt to almost any situation and really give new levels of enjoyment to social gatherings. So get together with friends and strangers and appreciate the good weather and good company. Everyone likes to do his or her own thing, and the beer you choose (your choice) is no different. When you’re not really getting along with someone, they usually back off. With a beer you don’t really like or are disappointed in, show it the same respect, and realize it’s a long season with plenty of more opportunity. It’s not like anyone parties-or drinks-any less in the summer.

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