Spring Beers to Savor

Jon Whitaker is a certified cicerone and Beer Program Director at International Tap House in Kansas City, Mo. 

Freedom! There’s no special theme to this month’s column, just some wonderful brews available this spring that I think the Columbia beer drinking community should keep an eye on. Here’s a quick and interesting concoction that is one of my favorite drinks to enjoy on the patio.

It’s a mix I’ve made up called the “Shock-Tart” because well, it tastes like a Shock-Tart. The mix is very simple and extremely delicious. Two parts “sour” beer, one part dry cider and the tiniest splash of Lindeman’s Framboise (raspberry lambic).

I’m talking like maybe a ½ ounce tops of the lambic. Sour beers I recommend are Crane’s Orange or Grapefruit Gose, New Belgium’s Le Terroir or Perennial’s Hopfentea. The cider enhances the dry nature of the sour beer without adding to the tartness, and the tiny splash of lambic gives just enough sweetness to balance out the remaining sour. It’s tart, refreshing and just sweet enough to enhance a long, relaxing afternoon on the patio.

And now for a few recommendations. For drinkers who think all IPAs are bitter and unapproachable, try 4 Hands Dakine. Dakine adds a bit of pineapple and mandarin orange zest to enhance the tropical notes in the flavor profile, and just enough honey to add sweetness and round off the edges of any remaining bitterness. The nose reminds you of a fresh fruit salad, and the juicy, tropical nature of the beer makes you want to drink it faster than you probably should. A more than “approachable” IPA for the uninitiated and a flat out delicious beer for the seasoned veteran.

And this spring, don’t miss Logboat Bear Hair. It’s an absolutely spot-on take on a Belgian Blonde Ale. Beautiful golden color, thick, white head and all the great spicy fruity notes from the Belgian yeast come through on the nose and on the tongue. Full bodied, full flavored, yet still criminally drinkable at 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. This beer finishes nice and dry, as well, making it a great beer to pair with a lighter chicken dish, all sorts of salads and an assortment of seafood. It works especially well with anything that has citrus in the recipe.

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