By Amy Weirick
“March blows in like a lion, out like a lamb” was the inspiration for this spring’s trio of brews. However, we turned that old saw on its head; our first beer is the gentle lamb, and our third commands the stage like a blustery, early spring gale.
Blue Point Brewing Company Toasted Lager: This lager’s clear, peachy hue, with an almost faceted, jewel-like quality, is just … pretty, pledging to be the perfect harbinger of spring. Fine bubbles create a lilting head, giving way to a surprisingly intense fruity-floral aroma, then a light, cornbread finale. True craftsmanship confirms why this Long Island-based brew is a perennial medal winner. At 5.5 percent ABV it’s light enough to be sessionable and goes beautifully with spring salads and grilled seafood.
Smuttynose Brewing Company Big A Double IPA: The brassy name and retro boxer label drew us to this big IPA like a spring moth to a porch light. A foamy head dissipates to reveal a partly cloudy straw-into-gold brew. The nose is intensely tropical fruit with light malt, like a toasted English muffin slathered with grandma’s marmalade. Yet the flavor reveals something with much more backbone, thanks to complex hops lending a robust, lasting, piney finish. The Big A’s even bigger ABV, 8.2 percent, is as brash as its brand, though it drinks like a lighter IPA, pairing nicely with spicy Asian or Latin dishes.
North High Brewing Milk Stout: Looking like strong, black coffee topped with cappuccino froth, this milk stout from Columbus hits the nose with good balance: raisin bran muffin aroma, teamed with the herbal minerality of its hops. The flavor is balanced, too, transporting us to a dark cinema with a box of Raisinettes – viney-sweet intensity, covered in creamy, dark chocolate, weighing in at 6 percent ABV. Serve this as a finisher with a light, chocolate dessert such as mousse or tiramisu – or a big handful of chocolate-covered raisins.