Weather Changes, So Do the Seasons For Beer
Boulder, Colorado – February 11, 2009
Beer lovers can find an array of offerings in various seasons, and right now the beer world is abuzz about spring. As craft beer gains favor with the public, seasonal offerings are leading the pack, having recently surpassed the pale ale category in sales volume. In 2008, consumers pushed seasonal beers to new limits with sales up 15.7% over 2007 in U.S. supermarkets, according to Information Resources, Inc.
Traditional German styles Maibock (May bock) and Helles (pale) are currently on the rise, coinciding with spring celebrations. In modern times, American brewers are more often than not recreating the rules and as a result, styles normally reserved for cold winter months are popping up on shelves across the country as spring unfolds. Below are some common seasonal releases brewers will make available this spring:
Weizen or wheat beers come in all shapes and sizes (including Weisenbock, Belgian Witbier, Weissebier, and American Wheat beer). Hefeweizen (hefe=yeast and weizen=wheat) are unfiltered ales with a crisp and refreshing profile. American varieties have citrus flavor notes (from domestic hops) while typical German Hefeweizens have clove notes and fruity banana flavors, which are by-products of the yeast strain used. The yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle can be roused after pouring and added at the end of the pour.
India Pale Ales, born in Great Britain during the late 1700s, have become a favorite beverage of American beer drinkers. Said to have been created to survive the long voyages to colonial India, pale ales increased in strength and brewers added a copious amount of hops (which act as a natural preservative). American brewers usually opt for North American-grown hops from the Northwest. Hops from this region impart unique citrus, floral, resinous, and pine flavors and aromas to the brew. These attributes are perfect for spring when beer lovers want clean, fresh tastes and aromas reminiscent of the outdoors.
Normally not thought of as a spring release, porters are experiencing a recent revival thanks to public demand. First brewed in the early 18th century, porters soon became one of the most popular beverages of the day, appealing to the working class of London during the Industrial Revolution. Porters get their deep black appearance from the use of black malt and carry a pleasant mild roastiness and an occasional chocolaty quality. Contrary to popular belief, Porters range from medium-light to medium body and usually do not carry a powerful alcoholic punch (4-5.5% abv).
Based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, the Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade and education association for American craft brewers and community of beer enthusiasts. Visit the Web site, www.beertown.org, to learn more. The association’s activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festivalsm; Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience; American Craft Beer Week; Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 15,000+ homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.