Springtime – or, as I like to unofficially call it, "patio season" – has finally arrived in the Triangle, just in time for N.C. Beer Month! What better way to usher in sunny, 70-degree days than an ice cold beer outside at your favorite watering hole?
Breweries seem to be popping up all over the place in the Triangle and beyond, and many have fabulous brews that simply sing "Spring!"
Here are our five favorites for the season:
Endless River Kolsch (Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, NC): I pretty much like anything coming from Mother Earth in Kinston. The Weeping Willow Wit is also a great beer for sipping in the sunshine, but the kolsch, which is available year-round, is my favorite. It's light and crisp with a slight citrusy, hoppy tang. It's clear and sunny in color and very refreshing – just like the season.
Saucey Pants (Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh, NC): This saison is cloudy, fruity and full-bodied, but not too sweet. It has a nice hit of acid, without being overly tart and is pretty dry and crisp, especially for a Belgian ale. If you want to go straight to the source, Big Boss has a rustic patio at their brewery and taproom off Atlantic Avenue.
Uncommon Curiosity (Raleigh Brewing Company in Raleigh, NC): The newly opened Raleigh Brewing Company describes this beer as "an experiment that went terribly right." I'm inclined to agree. I was wary of the warehouse brewery when I visited its grand opening in March, but the beers are surprisingly drinkable with none of that session beer pretense that can make a beer interesting, but not necessarily good The uncommon curiosity is an easy drinking lager that's perfect for the casual beer drinker.
Highland Little Hump Spring Ale (Asheville, NC): This seasonal pale ale is hoppy and floral, but it doesn't overpower the palate like many pale ales. It's dry without being bitter, bubbly and effervescent with definite citrus notes, which makes it great for sipping. It might be hard to find on tap (if you know where to get it, leave us a comment!), but Tasty Beverage Company in Raleigh had it last time I was there.
Foothills Torch Pilsner (Winston-Salem, NC): This beer is a bit hoppy for a pilsner, but I find it perfect for a warm day. It's on the bitter side, and notes of grass, grain and malt are evident to the nose and tongue. Pilsner isn't always considered a sophisticated brew, but this one is special.