Spring is one of my favorite times of year, when we all can begin to enjoy more sunshine, warmer temperatures, and the slow emergence of the wild Beer Critic from his cave of solitude.
However, seeing as how it’s still winter, that’s not going to happen for a while. My cave is warm, comfortable, and has WiFi. So why in the Beer Gods name would I venture out into the cold, rainy, mid-January mess?
The Sam Adams Spring Seasonal is out? What the dong? It seems a little early, but hey, I can roll with it. I love the Noble Pils. It’s a little chilly for it, but Hell, it’s been a fairly mild winter and I’m always up for a good pilsner. Let me just go fetch… Wait, this isn’t the Noble Pils. Alpine Spring? What the fudge? Where did this come from?
Samuel Adams No-, erm, Alpine Spring?
Apparently the Boston Beer Company has changed their lineup again. While the Noble Pils might not be the Spring Seasonal anymore, it is now going to be a part of their regular lineup, increasing the already eye-watering number of beers they produce even further into the double digits. And I like the Noble Pils. Most pilsners suffer from cheap ingredients and watered down hop flavor because American Beer companies made sure that everyone hated flavor and began leeching it from beer post-prohibition. Not this one. This pilsner’s got just the right hop tang and medium body that refreshes and satisfies, oh hell, I’m sounding like a beer commercial.
Let’s move on, shall we? The Alpine Spring is billed as “a bright citrusy unfiltered lager,” which worries me. Ever since the Summer Ale changed from being a light citrusy beer to a heavy lemony beer, I’ve been a little skeptical. But what the hey, let’s give this one a whirl.
After getting some crispness and a hint of lemon on the first sip, and a gentle hop finish, three beers come to mind simultaneously: The original Summer Ale, Noble Pils, and the White Ale. It’s like they decided to combine all three into a new beer and let it bottle condition.
It’s actually quite nice, though I’d see this more as a summer beer than a spring one. A spring beer I picture as something like a bock or a dark wheat. Maybe even a good red ale. It’s got a little body to it, but not too much to make it overfilling, and the citrus neither overpowers nor fades. The hops mingle well with the wheaty-citrusy taste and once again, I swear this is their other three beers mixed together. I bet if I could get my hands on a Noble Pils, a White Ale, and the original Summer Ale I could simulate this beer with a little experimentation. Again, I’m not saying it’s bad. I rather like it, and I can see myself knocking back a six-pack on a warm spring afternoon.
Nectar Ales Hemp Ale
AKA the Humboldt brown, and I’ve resisted trying this brew because of the various drug tests I have to take due to an incident involving a new beer bar, an angry badger and22 poundsof Jell-O dumped into a hot tub. My attorney advises I not talk about it.
Anyway, this beer’s an odd duck. It’s got a refreshing IPA like quality about it that, to my surprise, seems to work with a very, um, hemp-like flavor, I guess. It is, in fact, brewed with hemp, but I can’t imagine it’s very much or very potent, since the FDA is pretty strict about pot. Unless a drug as a dozen side effects, the FDA doesn’t seem to care very much, and if it does, then let’s slap a sticker on it! Anyway, the beer itself is sort of a mid-to-dark India Pale Ale type of brew that I can see knocking back in the warmer weather, so given how the current Winter is going, probably next Tuesday.