Sunday, April 8, 2012

Celebrate National Beer Day (weekend) with these refreshing spring brews

In case you need a reason to grab a cold, frosty one, today is National Beer Day (weekend) in America.

April 7, 1933, marked the beginning of the end of Prohibition, which was celebrated beginning at midnight as "New Beer’s Eve." After 13 long and dry years, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act into law, once again legalizing the sale of beer.

Seventy-nine years later, people are still raising a pint on April 7. And with spring in full swing, we checked in with a local beer expert about seasonal brews.

"Spring beers are generally lighter, in both body and/or color, to contrast with the heavy beers of winter," said Gene Muller, president of Flying Fish Brewing Company in Cherry Hill. "These [lighter] beers pair well with all kinds of foods, especially cheeses, and some of the richer foods you would have at Easter, for example: lamb, ham, brisket, etc."

In Germany, the end of the long, cold winter is traditionally marked with the release of maibock beers, a lighter (in color, not alcohol content), hoppier version of the classic bock style.

However, many American breweries skip the spring season and opt to go straight into summer.

"Sometimes they’re one and the same," Muller said. "Other times, summer beers can have citrus or spices to enhance their drinkability. Summer beers usually are lower alcohol as well."


A fresh, traditional German-style weissbier that offers a malty wheat bouquet with clove and banana aromas. Lemon and spice accents, with a smooth, creamy finish.

Brewery: High Point, Butler

Alcohol by volume: 5 percent

How much: Undetermined. No firm availability date.


In Britain, a shandy is a popular summer drink combining beer and lemon-lime soda. Shock Top’s newest seasonal offering is a light and refreshing wheat beer complemented by spices and natural lemonade flavor.

Brewery: Anheuser-Busch Inc., Missouri

ABV: 4.2 percent

How much: $6.99 for six-pack


Modeled after the original Belgian witbiers brewed in monasteries during the early 14th century, this is an easy-drinking, citrusy and peppery warm-weather beer.

Brewery: Long Trail Brewing Company, Vermont

ABV: 4.7 percent

How much: $8.99 for six-pack


An unfiltered wheat beer brewed with elderberry, it’s both malty and fruity — an unusual beer that’s not for everyone.

Brewery: Magic Hat, Vermont

ABV: 5.5 percent

How much: $8.99, part of the Springtime Suds six-pack


The name refers to the area code for Chicago, which was the inspiration for this creamy wheat beer. Sweet and slightly fruity, with a little spice and a dry finish.

Brewery: Goose Island, Illinois

ABV: 4.2 percent

How much: $8.99 for six-pack


Brewed in memory of the 1955 World Champion Dodgers baseball team, this is more of an amber ale, with a sweet caramel flavor.

Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery, New York City

ABV: 5 percent

How much: $8.99 for six-pack

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