It’s an annual rite of passage. Spring signals the end of the season for bigger, stronger, more robust beers and opens the proverbial door for the lighter, easier-drinking beers to take over. Since Arizonans don’t want their beers to weigh them down, they seek lighter options as the weather warms. Sometimes that means less alcohol or lighter-bodied beers, while other times it’s about lighter color or even beers with fruit. To that end, we are showcasing five locally made beers that are perfect for the spring season.
Citrus Reboot IPA
Oro Brewing Company, Mesa
5.9% ABV, 60 IBU
IPAs traditionally do not have a seasonality; one can enjoy an IPA equally in the heat of the summer or during the coldest days of winter. The reason we chose this particular IPA as a great spring option was due to the robust tangerine forward citrus aromas and flavors. The citrus masks the 5.9 percent ABV. Oro Brewing is a taproom only but they have a working agreement with the sandwich shop next door, which benefits both companies — and the consumer. Since Oro does not package their beers, you need to visit their taproom at 210 West Main Street, Mesa, to enjoy this one.
Huss Brewing Company, Tempe
4.9% ABV, 33 IBU
Huss Brewing Company of Tempe is making news all the time. In addition to recently getting their brand-new taproom approved in Phoenix, they have also revamped their seasonal lineup of beers, the Husstler series. This series kicks off with Alt Amber, the new Huss spring seasonal. The inspiration for the Alt Amber recipe came while owner and brewmaster Jeff Huss was earning his brewing degree in Germany. Always one of Huss’ personal favorite recipes, he was trying to find the perfect time and place to introduce it into the lineup. Caramel malt flavors lead with some light hop flavor, finishing with a crisp, clean, pleasantly bitter finish. This beer is inspired by the traditional North German altbiers of Dusseldorf. Alt Amber is a draft-only option available throughout the market and, of course, at the Huss Brewing taproom located at 1520 West Mineral Road in Tempe.
Pedal Haus Light Lager
Pedal Haus Brewing Company, Tempe
3.1% ABV, 10 IBU
Are you looking for the perfect beer for an extended session of consumption? Checking in at only 104 calories and just over 3 percent ABV, this newly crafted lager is refreshing. Unquestionably a light beer, it still retains a pleasant, easy-drinking flavor profile showcased by the bread-like malts used. Staying true to its “craft” nature, the Pedal Haus Light Lager does not use any adjunct ingredients, such as corn or rice, to cut costs or lighten the beer. The Pedal Haus Light Lager is composed of malted barley, hops, reverse osmosis water, minerals, and lager yeast, and is gluten-reduced with the lowest detectable levels of gluten. It’s nice to see local breweries taking the time to produce lagers, as they typically take more time to produce than a typical ale, and require precision and astute attention to detail. The Pedal Haus Light Lager is a perfect refresher for patio drinking on a warm spring day. Check out Pedal Haus at 730 South Mill Avenue in Tempe.
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, Gilbert
5.6% ABV, 2 IBU
The term “handcrafted ales” can sometimes be taken for granted. That’s not the case with Tangelo Gose, the latest in a series of interesting creations from Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company. Four hundred pounds of locally sourced tangelos from Steadfast Farms in Queen Creek are hand-cut and juiced to give authentic tangelo flavor and aroma characteristics to this old style of beer, which is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. The Gose, pronounced GO’ za, delivers a huge punch of citrus aromatically and into the flavor. Notes of coriander add depth and support the saltine cracker-like malt. A gose is typically a low alcohol style of beer that showcases the use of salt. Arizona Wilderness sourced the salt locally from Hayden Flour Mills of Tempe. This version is higher in alcohol than a typical gose at 5.6 percent ABV, but it drinks as if it were much lighter. High carbonation provides an effervescent quality, while the yeast worked overtime fermenting the sugars away, leaving a salty, citrusy, satiating palate-cleanser of a beer. The perfect place to enjoy this citrus blast is outside on the Arizona Wilderness patio at 721 North Arizona Avenue in Gilbert.
Hatch Chile Gatos
McFate Brewing Company, Scottsdale
4.5% ABV; 23 IBU
Though Hatch Chile Gatos is a year-round offering at McFate Brewing Company in Scottsdale, it’s most appropriate to add it to the list of great beers to enjoy in spring. Cream ales are easy-drinking, very refreshing, low-alcohol beers typically consumed in quantity during warmer weather. The style itself is meant to represent an ale version of an American lager. Hatch Chile Gatos is a very interesting Southwestern take on a traditional cream ale. McFate’s traditional cream ale, Oh My Gatos! Golden Ale, was brewed with the addition of roasted Hatch chiles, which provides pronounced chile pepper aroma and flavor with virtually no heat. The presence of the chiles contributes an additional level of clean, crisp, refreshing character over and above what the base beer already provides. Since Hatch chiles are typically sourced in and around Hatch, New Mexico, this key ingredient makes Hatch Chile Gatos a true beer of the Southwest. This beer can be enjoyed by light lager drinkers and craft connoisseurs alike. And the best place to enjoy this easy drinking cream ale is at either of McFate’s two Scottsdale brewpub locations; McFate South, 1312 North Scottsdale Road, or McFate North, 7337 East Shea Boulevard.