Whether you’re a novice or an old hand at home brewing, it’s always interesting to make something a little different from the traditional lagers and ales – so why not explore seasonal beers? There’s one (or more) for every season. Keep reading for a brief introduction to some of the most popular seasonal brews.
Spring brings us (what else?) bock beers, specifically Maibocks. This is a style of beer which is traditionally brewed during Lent – in Milwaukee, WI, there is even an annual Lent season “blessing of the bock” event. Originally developed by monks to provide them with sustenance during the fasts which they observed during the season, Maibock is a little lighter in body and flavor than the bocks you may be used to, offering a little more hops and a little less malt on the palate.
Weiss (wheat) beer is the style most strongly associated with the summer season. Light and refreshing, these beers often offer fruit and floral aromas and flavors – and they are often brewed with spices and citrus peels as well. This is a style which seems to be tailor made for warm weather and it’s one you might want to think about brewing up in your beer brewing kit for next summer (though it’s good year round, so there’s no need to wait if you don’t want).
Oktoberfest is of course the biggest beer-related event in the season and this is a beer which matches the growing chill in the air quite nicely. Balancing the refreshing character of a summer beer with the warm maltiness of a cold weather brew, Oktoberfest is a winner, whether or not it’s Oktoberfest when your batch of this classic is ready to open and enjoy.
Winter’s chill calls for a brew which can make you feel a little warmer, so why not try using your beer brewing kit to make a batch of aptly-named winter warmer? These are English-style ales which are a little darker than a brown ale, but lighter than a porter or stout and have a decidedly malty note in their flavor profiles. If you’ve never had one, imagine a Scotch ale with the malt toned down a few notches combined with a strong brown ale and you’ll be in the ballpark. With a slightly higher than average alcohol content and a flavor which begs to be enjoyed by the fire, this is a wintertime classic.