Spring Has Sprung: Seasonal Beers in the Mitten

By: Amber Ogden | March 23, 2015

Spring is one of the best times of the year in Michigan, simply because things defrost. We can shed a few layers of outerwear, stop shivering and start smiling because the birds are chirping, the sun is coming out, and those hideous piles of snow are melting.

Another reason to smile? Spring seasonal beers are being released! Nothing puts a smile on my face better than drinking a beer in the warm sunshine, and while patio season may be a little while off still, I can tell you that I’ve already indulged in a brew on an open air patio on one unseasonably warm day already this month.

If you’re looking for a few new spring beers to try, either while you’re out and about on the town, or in the form of a six-pack, try one of the following:

Arbor Brewing Company, 114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, is hosting a release party for its Strawberry Blonde on Tuesday, April 7 at the Microbrewery, located at 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti.

Strawberry Blonde is a refreshing medium-bodied beer with bursts of citrus, perfect for the changing of seasons. If you enjoy it, be sure to head back for the Uskratch Maibock release party on Tuesday, May 5. Sure, it’s a different type of beer (a lager with notes of honey and a dry finish), but who can resist a party honoring another variety of local beer?

Arcadia Ales, 103 W. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, has already released its spring seasonal, Whitsun. If you enjoy wheat beer with a hint of orange, you’ll be a happy camper. While you might not find yourself in Battle Creek too often, you can find this one at your local grocery store and on tap around town.

Atwater Brewery, 237 Joseph Campau St., Detroit, brews and releases Mai Bock for spring, a German bock with malty sweetness. Don’t miss out on the Atwater Tap Takeover, happening at Grand Trunk Pub, 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit, on Wednesday, March 25.

On a similar note, head to Atwater in the Park, 1175 Lakepointe St., Grosse Pointe Park, to enjoy a fruity Mango Wheat on tap.

Bell’s Brewery, 8938 Krum Ave., Galesburg, has been going through some tough times as of late media-wise, but I’m sure a little controversy won’t keep dedicated Oberon fans from sipping. Oberon Day is today, after all!

To kick off the fun, midnight tapping parties took place at Conor O’Neill’s in Ann Arbor, One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale, and Ashley’s in Ann Arbor. Launch parties are also taking place today at Oak Cafe in Wyandotte and Union Woodshop in Clarkston.

This citrusy wheat ale is the definition of warm weather for a lot of dedicated Bell’s fans such as myself.

Dark Horse Brewing Co., 511 S. Kalamazoo Ave., Marshall, may not be as close to home as some others on this list, but you’ll find six-packs at places like Whole Foods, and beer flowing on taps at many local bars. Sapient Trip Ale is available now through the end of the summer, so you’ve got plenty of warm days ahead to sip this Belgian style triple. Another option is Smells Like A Safety Meeting, which is available April through July. If you like IPAs, you’ll enjoy this beer.

Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, is a great microbrewery on the west side of the state, and luckily for us Metro Detroiters, we can order some on tap at plenty of places in the D, or buy in stores. While I had the pleasure of visiting the brewery earlier this month, sipping on this side of the state will have to do for now.

Rubaeus is Founders’ springtime release, which is available April through September. It’s both sweet and tart, and very fruity.

Griffin Claw Brewing Company, 575 S. Eton St., Birmingham, is always brewing up something new, no matter the season. If you’re not a fan of the brewery’s Facebook page, change that now! It’s imperative to keep up with all of the latest releases.

The one that I’m so eager to try is the new Beechwood Aged Pumpkin Peach Ale. Sure, pumpkin makes you think “fall” (and perhaps Beechwood now rings Brooklyn hipster “Budweiser”), but pumpkin is technically a fruit, which just screams “spring.” It’s a taproom exclusive, so get there before it’s gone!

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, 311 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, releases Biere de Mars for spring, a sour beer that aims to “welcome in a wealth of warmer weather.” Did ya’ll say warmer weather? Bring it on!

Keep in mind that the new Jolly Pumpkin location in Midtown is slated to open in April, as well.

Short’s Brewing Company, 121 N. Bridge St., Bellaire, is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year with a party in April. If you can’t make it to Bellaire, there’s no better way to honor the occasion than by tipping back a few Short’s brews on the homefront.

Short’s has a Spring Variety Pack with Counterculture Common (a dark lager), The Village Reserve (a medium bodied hoppy brew), Ester (an extra pale ale) and Sustenance Black Beer (a dark lager). There are several specialty releases throughout the spring months, including Moher Stout and Superfluid in March, Freedom of ’78 and Bludgeon Yer Eye in April, and Anniversary Ale and Dan’s Pink Skirt in May.

No matter what your beer of choice is this spring, clink your glass with your fellow Metro Detroit beer drinker. We can all appreciate the wonderful aspects that the spring season brings: opening day, beautiful weather and overall, increased morale. Cheers to that!