May 1 2014 12:00 AM

I drink it so you don't have to, but you still probably should, though

Green = Spring.
Photo by: Ian Cheesman
The time is ripe to review notable springtime beers, despite the efforts of our scalding Santa Ana winds to bypass the season entirely. I wanted to present beers that truly embodied the season with vibrant, flowery flavors, so I began researching options weeks ago. I thought about it so long and earnestly that I pretty much forgot this thing was due today. Shit. So, instead, allow me to present two carefully selected brews that had bright green labels and happened to be in my fridge. Yes, that counts.

Stone Brewing Spröcket Bier (5.4-percent ABV) 

This black rye kolsch pours a largely opaque mahogany with beady, tan head. The aroma smacks of toast and charcoal, with maybe the lightest note of umlauts in the mix.

The flavor is heavily dosed with peppery rye notes with the same toasty bread note so prominent in the nose. It has a pleasant nutty, chocolatey flavor mid-palate, but the flavors aren't heavy. Despite all those stout flavors, this kolsch remains light bodied and finishes crisp, if not dry. Those roasty notes evolve to be more smoky in the finish and resonate with a small kiss of pine, as well.

I have unwittingly selected a perfectly suitable springtime beer. It provides echoes of the stout-laden winter months while transitioning the palate to the lighter bodied fare that generally accompanies warmer months. It's an intimidating pour that's surprisingly easy-drinking. It's a real tribute to Stone's "Spotlight Series" and marks it as a series to look out for again.

This IPA has a hazy orange body with a crisp, ivory head. The nose has a dank, citrus character built predominantly on lime and orange aromas. It's the kind of presentation I'd expect from an easy-drinking, featherweight IPA, but the Frog's Breath is clearly trying to lull you into a false sense of calm. These still IPA waters run deeper than you'd expect.

This IPA is indeed pretty light in body and has sort of a watery finish, but the IPA flavors are have some potency to them. It revisits that dank citrus aspect of the aroma, favoring a slightly brighter lemon-lime and citrus-rind forward palate with flowery hints of coriander and a pinch of white pepper. It's a nuanced and flavorful IPA that's easy-drinking, but not because it lacks complexity.

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