Easter is coming.
That means that Lent is almost over. It also means we’ll be hanging with our families. Which means we’ll either be drinking with the people we love or, if things are rougher at home, drinking until we don’t care what they think. So whatever the reason — Lent, family, or family — it’s on.
And whatever the taste — smooth, hoppy, fruity — it’s on.
So what’s on the menu this spring? A lot of awesomeness from the Boston Beer Company, Brooklyn Brewery and Angry Orchard.
Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager, 1988-2013
So it’s a celebration, right? Yes, it is. Because not only is Christ risen, but Brooklyn Brewery is 25 years old.
Now most of us have heard of Brooklyn Brewery, but a lot of us don’t know the story — and it is an awesome story.
Co-founder Steve Hindy got into home brewing when he was a reporter in the tragically dry Middle East in the 1970s and ’80s, and when he returned to New York City in 1984, he and his neighbor, Tom Potter, quit their jobs and got to starting the first craft brewery New York had seen in years. In 1996, after years of working from home, contracting their brewing and distributing their brews themselves, they were finally able to open their own brewery, and now their beer is available in 25 states and 20 countries.
So now that we know how awesome these guys are, let’s talk about how awesome their anniversary beer is.
Ever had the flagship beer, Brooklyn Lager? It’s awesome. And this — the Silver Anniversary Lager — is even better: A lager “brewed to a dobblebock intensity and re-fermented in the bottle.”
Copper in color, the nose is sour dough with a hint of coffee beans. On the palate, it is more forward than the original lager. And by that, we mean we know it’s more alcoholic. With a slight taste of coffee, it’s darker than we normally drink, but we would definitely drink this. Lighter than a normal lager, it has a pleasant heaviness, and we could drink it all day without feeling it sloshing around with our stomach. And on a holiday, at 9 percent alcohol, drinking Silver Anniversary Lager all day is a challenge that we’re more than up to.
It comes sealed in a champagne-sized bottle, sealed with a cork.
Samuel Adams White Lantern Ale
Need something a little lighter? Try the White Lantern Ale — a 5.5 percent Belgian-style white that is thick and hazy with a light wheat color.
The nose has a blend of orange and peach, and on the tongue, it is delicious. With some beers, you may have to add some fruit. With White Lantern? Not so — the citrus notes are strong.
This beer is perfect for guys and girls, and the whole office enjoyed it. But for something a little perkier, check out this next one.
Samuel Adams Alpine Spring Lager
So it’s nearly April, and just like winter never really seemed to come in D.C., spring seems to be a late bloomer as well. Which is a nice way of saying it’s freaking cold. And we’re unhappy about that. But the gang at the Boston Beer Company have a the perfect brew for this type of bullshit: Alpine Spring Lager.
Golden in color and less hazy than the White Lantern, Alpine Spring is a floral beer with some orange, but less sweet than its predecessor, plus a touch of citrus.
On the palate, Alpine Spring is on the lighter side, with some spicy crispness. It’s also more refreshing — zippier, we’d say — with just the right hint of bitterness.
At 5.5 percent alcohol, it will make a good companion for either the late spring skiing trip or the early backyard barbecue.
But if neither of these hop out, this next one should do the trick.
Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL (India Pale Lager)
Hear that? An India Pale Lager. Sound awesome? It is.
Because since the British garrisoned India, IPAs (India Pale Ales) have pleased our palates. And those British Huns finally going home doesn’t mean we have to stop drinking them. In fact, IPAs have experienced such a resurgence in American craft markets that brewers have tried all different types of variation — Belgian IPAs, imperial IPAs, ryePAs, white IPAs, black IPAs — with mixed results. Never, though — never — had we seen an India Pale Lager. And who better to craft one than the lager boys from Boston?
Caramel in color, this beer is pretty transparent, and on the nose, smells more like a pale ale than an IPA.
On the tongue, it’s lighter than an IPA, but still carries that piney bitter flavor we love and has a good bite at the end. The mouthfeel is also light, making this the kind of hoppy deliciousness we could drink all day. And at 5 percent alcohol, we definitely could. But the old adage goes, “You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning,” so for all the morning drinkers, and the ladies, out there, we have our next drink.
Angry Orchard Elderflower Cider
As light and clear as a glass of champagne, this is a good cider to start the day with. Though we caution some of the hardcore cider guys out there that it’s a lot more fruity than what they might be used to from Angry Orchard.
On the nose, we feel like we hit the nail with “gummy bears,” and on the tongue, we picked up on pear, with some pleasant sweet apple spice.
And hey — what better way to kick off Easter morning than with a glass of fruit that smells like candy?