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Top 10 Spring beers

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Celebrate the arrival of spring with the season's finest special releases, including Maibocks and other spring-style beers from U.S. and German breweries. Traditionally, German spring beers are strong, very dark lagers called Bock beers or Bockbier. 

The Maibock variation (from the German word for "May") refers to a seasonal beer style released in April or May. Maibocks tend to be lighter in color and have more assertive hop aromatics and bitterness than other Bock beers. Maibocks also have a noticeable maltiness and viscosity, because even though Maibocks are lighter in color, the good ones still retain the higher alcohol content of the original Bock beers. Maibocks are very similar to another strong lager style called Helles Bock, which basically means "pale" or "blond" bocks. Be it Bock, Helles Bock, Maibock, Weizenbock or Doppelbock, let your tongue decide which is your favorite spring beer.

Abita Bock

Abita Brewing Company - Covington, LA
Abita Brewing Company’s first seasonal brew, Abita Bock is available January through March. Abita uses mild and aromatic Perle hops and British pale and caramel malts to achieve its mild and toasty flavor. Even though the makers of Abita call this beer a simple Bock, it resembles a German Maibock in its high malt content, full body and slightly higher alcohol content. This beer is very popular in Louisiana, especially during Mardi Gras season.
Style: Maibock / Helles Bock
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 6.5 per cent
Price: $8 / six-pack

Celebrator Ayinger Doppelbock

Brauerei Aying - Aying, Germany
Technically, this beer is a Doppelbock ('doppel' meaning double in German), but the delicious complexity and contrast of Celebrator make it one of the best bock beers in the world and not to be left out of any bock beer list. Pouring a deep, dark red, full-bodied and voluptuous, this velvety beer is aged in barrels for six months. That's just enough time for this remarkable lager to develop its super rich, yet amazingly balanced flavor that finishes delightfully with a dry waft of smoke in the exhaust. See why this Doppelbock is also a Top 10 Sipping Beer.
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 6.7 per cent
Price: $3 / 11 oz. bottle

Alaskan Birch Bock

Alaskan Brewing Company - Juneau, AK
The narrow, white trunk and light green foliage of the Alaska paper birch is a fitting depiction on the label, as both this tree and beer are uniquely Alaskan. This beer is a taste of the Northwest, with ingredients including Alaskan birch maple syrup, glacier-fed water, a blend of Pacific Northwest hop varieties and premium two-row and specialty malts. Birch trees produce abundant sap in April and May, making spring the perfect time to utilize the syrup. This copper-colored Doppelbock-style ale is a nice blend of birch maple syrup that's not too sweet, allowing the undertones of birch, figs and spun sugar to come through, giving it a subtle woodsy character.
Style: Bock
ABV: 8.5 per cent
Price: $8 / 22 oz. bottle

Gordon Biersch Maibock

Gordon Biersch Brewing Company - San Jose, CA
Gordon Biersch's co-founder Dan Gordon studied brewing engineering at the Technical University of Munich, Weihenstephan, providing him with the needed expertise to craft German beer styles. His brewery's take on a Maibock pours an amber color, with shades of copper and orange, and achieves rich malty flavor from an abundance of dark roasted caramel malt, which complements the moderate level of bitterness to create a well balanced American version of the Bavarian style. Attention to detail includes the use of a Weihenstephan yeast strain imported from Bavaria. This beer can catch you off guard, as the sweet, malty taste may lead you to forget that this beer has an ABV of 7.3 per cent. Read a review of Gordon Biersch FestBier, a Top 10 Oktoberfest Beer.
Style: Maibock / Helles Bock
ABV: 7.3 per cent
Price: $8 / sixpack

Hofbräu Maibock

Staatliches Hofbräuhaus (Hofbräu München) - Munich, Germany
This über-traditional maibock is Munich's oldest bock beer, with the recipe stretching all the way back to 1614. Mark your calendars, because every year during the last week of April the first barrel of this delicious brew is cracked open just in time for May. With notes of honey and caramel in the nose, this beer pours a deep effervescent gold with a sweet lingering finish.
Style: Maibock / Helles Bock
ABV: 7.2 per cent
Price: $8 / six-pack

Dead Guy Ale

Rogue Ales - Newport, OR
Brewed year-round, Dead Guy Ale was originally created to celebrate the Day of the Dead (November 2, also known as All Souls Day). Even though this beer was brewed to be an ale instead of a lager and celebrates a day in the fall, Rogue calls the Dead Guy Ale a Maibock; and it does imitate the German-style lager perfectly. Made with Rogue's proprietary "pacman" ale yeast, Dead Guy is copper honey in color with a malty aroma, rich hearty flavor, a well-balanced finish. Read a review of Rogue Mocha Porter, a Top 10 Fall Beer.
Style: Maibock / Helles Bock
ABV: 6.5 per cent
Price: $12 / six-pack

Southern Hemisphere Harvest

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Chico, CA
The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is known for using only fresh full-cone hops, so what's a brewery to do when hops are only harvested in late summer? This ale features freshly picked hops from New Zealand, the only location on the planet that harvests hops in March and April. The brewery was the first American brewery to source hops from the southern hemisphere. The hops are dried right after being picked, flown immediately to Chico, and used for brewing the week after they were picked so that they retain peak aromatics and flavors. This copper-hued beer is a fusion of north and south, as the southern hops impart a piney and pungent aroma and a spicy flavor that's balanced with maltiness from North American grown malts.
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.7 per cent
Price: $8 / 24 oz. bottle

Stoudt's Karnival Kölsch-Style Beer

Stoudt's Brewing Co. - Adamstown, PA
This pale German-style ale is a tasty spring offering for the March-May season. A winner at the Great American Beer Festival, it is dry and refreshing with fruit on the palate and nose and mild hops bitterness.
Style: Kölsch
ABV: 4.8 per cent
Price: $11 / six-pack

Summit Maibock

Summit Brewing Company - St. Paul, MN
Summit Brewing's first brewhouse was from Heimertingen in Bavaria, so it's only natural that they honor that heritage by brewing their own Maibock. Unlike its Bavarian counterparts, this Maibock is dark blonde in color and is fermented at slightly warmer temperatures than other lagers to coax more spicy aromas from the hops. As for its flavor, Moravian 37 and Munich malts and Saaz and Mt. Hood hops combine for a toasted sweetness with a subtle spice and peppery character.
Style: Maibock / Helles Bock
ABV: 6.5 per cent
Price: $8 / six-pack

Weihenstephaner Vitus

Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan - Freising, Germany
Located just north of Munich, the Weihenstephan Brewery is no novice to brewing. Licensed as far back as 1040, it is recognized as the world's oldest working brewery. Unlike traditional bocks, this weizenbock is light-colored and fermented with an ale yeast, which creates flavors of banana, lemon, orange and clove. A ramped-up version of a Bavarian hefeweizen, it's emboldened by its hefty 7.7 per cent alcohol strength.
Style: Weizenbock
ABV: 7.7 per cent
Price: $3 / 16.9 oz. bottle

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