Nothing pairs better with those first spring cookouts than a refreshing beer. Floral, fruity brews with nuanced flavors hit the spot this time of year, before summer comes around and cold session beers take the spotlight. We asked our beer expert Jason Henry for the best styles to look for, along with a few of his favorite picks.
Maibock: This light amber-colored German beer is associated with the month of May. A pale version of a traditional Bock, this clean lager is dry, with slightly pronounced hops and a pale malt character.
Saison: A Belgian and French farmhouse staple, this beer is characterized by a fruity, peppery yeast strain. Aromas of citrus fruit are prominent, offset by a soft malt presence. This rustic beer is typically unfiltered, with a lively effervescence and slight acidity.
ESB (Extra-Special Bitter): This pale English ale is light on the palate with a warming caramel malt character that’s perfect for spring. It has a deep copper hue with a nutty aroma.
Belgian Pale Ale: A distinctively floral brew, this style meshes moderate hop bitterness with a fruity Belgian yeast strain. It’s an easy-drinking beer with a slightly sweet finish and complex notes of citrus and pear.
|Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Brewed in the Maibock style with an Oregon twist, this beer makes use of Rogue’s proprietary yeast strain. Its flavor is malty with notes of honey.
Pair it: Sip this beer with nutty Italian cheeses or smoked trout.
This is the prototypical Belgian farmhouse beer, bright and tangy with notes of straw and earth.
Pair it: Try this classic brew with raw oysters or spring onions charred on the grill.
|Anderson Valley Belk’s ESB
This is a Northern California take on an English classic, dominated by bready malt with notes of caramel and toffee. A floral hop character offsets the sweeter elements of the beer.
Pair it: The toasty, earthy character of this brew stands up well to barbecued meats or grilled pork chops.
This one of the authentic Belgian Trappist beers, and it’s certainly one of the most unique. The aromatic brew is finished with a dry hopping process that creates a floral aroma with hints of lemon and apricot. A wild yeast creates an earthy character that rounds out the experience, introducing an element that changes over time with careful aging.
Pair it: Enjoy this pick with a Thai green mango salad or a salad of citrus fruit and crab meat.