Spring might be one of the best seasons for beer, especially in Orange County. Since the gods rain down sunshine and happiness upon us over 300 days out of the year, our brewers know how to make beers that match the sensational weather. From session IPAs to farmhouse ales and everywhere in between, OC brewers make the perfect beer for the OC climate. Here's a compilation of (some) excellent springtime beers brought to you by OC's finest.
5) Pierside Pilsner -- Beach City Brewing
Naturally, Pilsners are on the brain when talking easy-drinking beers for a sunny afternoon. Clean and slightly bitter, Beach City's Pierside Pilsner greets your palate with a wave of effervescent freshness. This year-round beer hits a cool 4.6 percent ABV and comes in the form of a hoppier German-style pilsner. The classic Noble hops used in the recipe make for an extra boost in bitterness but eases off before you really notice it. Served on draft is best but six-packs of cans are available at the brewery -- and various OC markets -- for purchase all year long.
4) Ponto S.I.P.A -- Pizza Port Brewing Co.
Pizza Port never fails to produce some of Orange County's (and the state's) prime west coast-inspired beers. A steady staple from the San Diego/OC brewery, Ponto S.I.P.A (session IPA), delights with a dry yet bright bitterness that keeps you sipping. This beer finds itself lucky enough to be one of the three Pizza Port beers available in cans and distributed in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles County and even Las Vegas. The beer may be available far and wide but Orange County should consider themselves blessed because we get this tasty and portable beer fresh from the source. Find cans of Ponto S.I.P.A at any Pizza Port branch and most craft-heavy liquor stores and supermarkets. 3) Citra Bravo -- The Good Beer Co.
One of Orange County's newest breweries, The Good Beer Co. has quickly risen to the top of the OC craft beer standard. Adding more sour beers to the area's repertoire, The Good Beer Co. out of Downtown SanTana is truly making a name for themselves with their Belgian and wild yeast brews. Although a small operation, the Good Beer team has already begun bottling some of their funky beers that scream springtime. They released bottles of Citra Bravo--a Belgian wheat beer treated with Brettanomyces yeast--this past February. While adding yeast to something may sound downright strange, brettanomyces adds a pleasant tartness to the tropical fruit and citrus characters brought on by the Citra hops. Now this tart beer won't have you puckering, but its delightful funk and low 5.2 percent ABV will offer as a wonderful pairing to any picnic or post-work wind down.
2) One Louder -- Barley Forge Brewing Co.
Get ready to turn up your amps...One Louder. That's right, we're taking this beer drinking experience from a 10 to an 11. All Spinal Tap references aside, this beer really does take that double IPA experience to the next level. A beautiful blend of Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, Warrior and Amarillo hops will have you reveling in hop overload. Although One Louder has a hefty ABV at 8.3 percent, it is dangerously easy to put down. Notes of grapefruit and other citrus fruits exude through this beer's biting backbone with no addition of fruit required. The hops create these juicy flavors all on their own. Barley Forge began bottling recently so One Louder can now make its way to every OC barbecue or pool party.
1) Jardinier -- The Bruery
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The Bruery's first year-round beer, Jardinier, might be one of their best. Each Bruery beer has the advantage of being truly unique, but Jardinier offers a consistent and reliable drinking experience. Thoughts of breezy meadows and warm sunsets bursts through this Belgian Pale Ale in every glass, and at a 4.9 percent ABV (shockingly low for Bruery standards) this beer will make it feel like spring all year round. Hints of lemongrass and faint banana come through in aroma and the palate receives a crisp, dry mouth feel that transports you to a dinner table on a remote Belgian farm at dusk. Bottles of the 750ml beer are available at Total Wine, BevMo and others craft beer stores for roughly $6-7. An excellent choice for your next bottle share or for your go-to beer, Jardinier will quickly become your springtime staple.