Beer Blog: Spring IPAs

| April 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

With every new season comes a plethora of new brews.  Among other styles, spring brings us bocks, including hellesbocks (light bocks), maibocks (May bocks) and dopplebocks (double bocks), which are all German style lager beers.  These are generally refreshing beers, but still have a sturdy maltiness and higher alcohol level (varying by style) to help you keep warm on a chilly evening. White ales and Belgian wit beers are also common (and refreshing) springtime brews.

I enjoy having a couple of these brews every year, but as a self-professed “hophead,” I tend to seek out beers with a big hop presence.  Luckily there are plenty of local breweries that brew India Pale Ales (IPAs) in the spring.  IPA is a beer style that is best enjoyed fresh, so having the luxury of a local brewery (or several in the case of Baltimore!) guarantees the availability of fresh beer.  Here are three that I have enjoyed fresh already this year.

Heavy Seas “Dubbel Cannon” – This beer is brewed in Halethorpe, right outside Baltimore.  It is a rendition of their popular “Loose Cannon” IPA brewed with Belgian Dubbel yeast.  The beer appears dark amber and has an aroma featuring bananas and cloves.  The taste is at first sweet caramel, then the big citrusy hop character of Loose Cannon comes through.  The finish is spicy, the signature touch of Belgian yeast.  This beer is easy to quaff, despite its 7.25% abv.

DuClaw “Hellrazer” –  DuClaw beers are brewed in Harford County, a short drive up I-95 from Baltimore.  This beer is their IPA and is brewed with Motueka hops from New Zealand.  The beer has a rich, burnt orange appearance with an eggshell colored head that dissipates quickly.  The aroma has some mild citrus, but is dominated by the biscuity sweet aroma from the malt.  The flavor is malt forward with a lingering sweetness that is met by tropical fruit flavors and a mild bitterness.  The solid malt backbone of this beer gives it an almost syrupy mouthfeel.

Dogfish Head “Aprihop” – The Dogfish Head brewery is located in Milton, Delaware.  This beer is released once a year, each spring, and has been a favorite of mine for several years.  The beer is dark reddish amber and forms an inch high off-white head when poured into a glass.  The aroma is of floral hops with faint apricot.  The taste is fruity and sweet until the piney and citrusy hop bitterness takes over through the finish.  The beer is a bit dryer than expected, making it quite drinkable.  I would recommend this beer to both fans of fruit beers as well as hopheads, as the apricot and hops are nicely balanced and perfectly married in this brew.

Seek these great beers out!  Let me know what you think, but don’t stop with these.  There are several other local, fresh IPAs out there to be enjoyed!

About the Author:

I'm a South Baltimore resident that commutes and travels everywhere I can via bicycle. Craft beer used to be a hobby that grew into what might be considered an obsession. When I'm not sampling new beers, you can usually find me either running through the streets of Baltimore training for my next race, in the weight room, or playing with my dogs. Geotechnical engineering pays the bills.
Filed in: Dining