As the national craft beer market expands, seasonals are becoming a major driver of annual beer sales. Fall and winter are the dominant months for seasonal beer releases, spurred on by consumer demand for pumpkin-flavored everything and the desire to drink a lot of dark, heavy beers during colder months. Summer, on the other hand, sees beer folk let their proverbial hair down a bit. I doubt we'll see any of the Brew Riot judges swilling Natty Lite, but I'd imagine that they'd allow themselves a Dos Equis or two, in the spirit of the summer lake party. Really, the most important rule in the Texas summer is that the beer is cold.
But spring? It's in the middle somewhere, and tends to get left out by our friends who brew for the larger, national craft breweries. I guess it doesn't mean much in Delaware or California, but the months of April and May offer some of North Texas' finest weather until September rolls around. Plus, with the imminent threat of horrific tornados or hail, it's a good bet to make sure that the beer you're drinking is worthy of being your last.
This list isn't meant to point out every hard-to-find release in the area this season. (Sorry, Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort, which is amazing). But hopefully it point you toward something you can actually find and enjoy. North Texas breweries make some damn good beer for patio weather, so dust off your porch swing and let's enjoy it while we got it.
Lakewood Till & Toil Lakewood's unfiltered saison is light, floral, fruity, and pours a beautiful blonde color. For me, beers like this are the iconic spring-time brew -- refreshing with notes of citrus and tropical fruits, but enough hops and malt are added to the boil to hold it all together. Grab a six-pack before the thermometer hits 100 and your decision-making abilities wane.
Franconia Maibock With all of the breweries opening up in the area, it could be easy to forget that Franconia has been producing great local beer in McKinney since 2008. Their Maibock should be available in stores on May 1, and then you'll be able to enjoy a triumph of spring seasonal drinking. It has notes of tea, some bread aromas, and finishes honey-sweet.
Peticolas Irish Goodbye I'm not here to debate the appropriateness of classifying an Irish Red Ale as a spring beer; I'm here to tell you that Peticolas' beautiful colored, slightly malty, amusingly sweet Irish Goodbye is a perfect accompaniment to an 80-degree afternoon on a Dallas patio. The beer gods work in strange and mysterious ways, friends. Let's just go with it.
Four Corners Local Buzz Maybe it's just because I associate springtime and honey bees, but Local Buzz gives me everything I want for a spring beer. It's brewed with locally sourced honey for sweetness and has a bit of a floral note, but the malt keeps the sweet in check. Plus, canned beer is better for the environment, so you won't have to feel as guilty at the next Earth Day picnic.