By Dylan Hochstedler
How do you buy beer?
Maybe you’re a seasonal drinker, somebody who carefully considers the weather before picking up a six-pack. Seasonal drinking can be challenging for Coloradans during springtime when Mother Nature teases us with sneak peaks of sunshine, as well as major snow dumps.
But with the certainty of warmer weather ahead, we have put together a list of great beers that pair well with spring cleaning, Rockies opening day, a relaxing hike or a backyard barbecue. So here we go, in no particular order …
Great Divide Roadie Grapefruit Radler
This easy-drinking ale is brewed with natural grapefruit puree, it pours a hazy sunrise gold color and is bursting with citrus aroma. Brian Dunn, founder of Great Divide Brewing Co., has always been an avid cycler. From riding through the French mountainside as a child to racing after college, he has always been passionate about cycling and chose to instill his passion into his brewery. “Creating a Radler is wildly different from anything we have ever brewed before,” Dunn says. He explains that traditional radlers add finished soda to the beer, but after almost a year of developing, Great Divide has a figured out how to substitute soda with an obscene amount of grapefruit-puree. “Grapefruit is one of the most refreshing fruits around, and with its relatively low ABV of 4.2 percent, this radler is a natural fir for a refreshing post-ride beer,” adds Dunn.
It pairs well with a BLT or Kale salad with avocado, jalapeno and cilantro.
Resolute Vienna Lager
Resolute’s new lager is scheduled for release May 1, and it should be worth the wait. “We wanted an easy-drinking lager to celebrate springtime around the brewery. It just so happens that Cinco de Mayo is that week, so we’d like to offer folks an alternative to macro-Mexican lager to celebrate! Resolute Vienna Lager also pairs well with grilling out, baseball, mountain exploration, concert tailgates and more!” says Andrew Duvall, Resolute’s community manager. Duvall also announced that the Vienna Lager represents assistant brewer Matt Georgen’s first time leading the brew day on their main 15-barrel system - and he knocked it out of the park. They cannot wait to share this brew with the community and get some feedback.
Renegade 5:00 Afternoon Ale
Renegade’s 5:00 Afternoon Ale is a classic session ale that is perfect for unwinding outside after a long day at the office. “Our goal was to make an approachable beer that is great for an afternoon beer on the patio,” says Brian O’Connell, owner of Renegade Brewing Co. “The beauty of it is that it’s approachable for the novice, but a palate cleanser or palate break for the advanced craft beer drinker. We believe it has a really broad appeal.”
This blonde ale sits at 5% ABV. It is very crisp and offers slight hints of honey. The only regret you’ll have about this beer is that you didn’t buy more.
Station 26 Tangerine Cream
Brewed with tangerine zest and vanilla, this easy-going ale tastes like an orange creamsicle. Sitting at 5.2% ABV, this beer uses a lighter ale base, followed by a bright, citrusy overtone. There is no other beer quite like it in Denver and Station 26’s patio is a must visit on a warm, sunny day.
Avery Liliko’i Kepolo
In Hawaiian, Liliko’i translates to passion fruit. Avery brewing has brought the Hawaiian Islands to Colorado with this beer that can be described as tropical, juicy or tart. Although slightly too high in ABV to be considered a session beer, this is the perfect brew for an afternoon of drinking with the friends and family.
Fire up the grill and cook some Mahi Mahi with mango salsa. Liliko’i Kepolo pairs well with light, fresh or tropical plates.
Cannonball Creek Trump Hands Session IPA
Trump Hands took 2016 GABF gold in the session IPA category. The IPA offers a mixture of German and American hops. It is light bodied and somewhat dry, and finishes with a firm hop bitterness. Notes of citrus and white grape are present, which pair this beer excellently with sweet, tangy barbecue.
Holidaily Favorite Blonde
After beating thyroid cancer, Karen Hertz opened Holidaily Brewing Co., Colorado’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery. Favorite Blonde was the first beer Holidaily canned and distributed and it has been a hit ever since. “This beer is awesome for a sunny, Colorado day. We put it in cans so people can take it with them for activities like biking, skiing, golfing, concerts, picnics and tailgate parties,” said Hertz. “The inspiration was to make a drinkable, delicious, light craft beer that anyone can enjoy, not just the gluten-free community.”
At 5% ABV and 20 IBUs, it’s a light craft beer with subtle hop character and mellow malt flavor.
Odell Tree Shaker IPA
Sitting at 8% ABV, this beer has a higher alcohol content than any other beer on this list. Odell has balanced the subtle sweetness of local Colorado peaches with citrusy hops to make the unique imperial IPA. Providing a moderately bitter finish, Tree Shaker tastes exceptionally smooth for an 8% beer.
Bristol Yellow Kite Pilsner
Bristol’s Yellow Kite Pils was first brewed in 2005 and according to owner Mike Bristol, it is their second highest selling seasonal brew. “Bright gold in color, this pilsner harkens back to its true European origins with a flavor that's light and refreshing, yet absolutely memorable,” says Bristol. “Pilsners are meant to be delicate, subtle and balanced, so there aren’t certain flavors that are designed to stand out from the rest. Overall, it’s simply clean, crisp and refreshing,” he adds. With subtle flavors that include floral, spicy and earthy, this beer pairs well with a lawn chair and a sweet mountain view or a wide range of foods. Since it tastes so crisp and clean, Mike Bristol likes to pair Yellow Kite with foods that are spicy.
Elevation 8 Second Kolsch
Elevation Beer Co. is located right next to the Chaffee County Fairgrounds. After being approached to be a beer sponsor of the Chaffee County Fair and Rodeo, the brewers whipped up a recipe for a Kolsch. “It went over really, really well at the rodeo and became our best-selling beer out of the taproom. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response from our guests and locals, we decided to put it into our year-round production,” says Elevation’s Andy Astor.
Astor points out that this was the first beer Elevation produced under 6% ABV, which makes it perfect for consuming in larger quantities on a warm day.