Ah, spring. An optimist might point to the idea of renewal, the sweet-smelling buds on the trees around Colorado and the sound of birds chirping on patios. A pessimist might point out that climate change has left us with windy days devoid of moisture and an early fire season; that baseball has been marred by scandal, labor problems and the Rockies ownership; and that there's a threat of nuclear war in Ukraine.
A realist, however, understands that both sides can be true at the same time — and that sometimes a beer or two is needed to help us make sense of it all. And fruit beers are a perfect pairing for the season. Here are a few brand-new ones that are available now or hitting shelves soon.
Wild Raspberry Ale
Great Divide Brewing
Although Great Divide Brewing kept the name of one of its most famous beers from the past, the new version of Wild Raspberry Ale is different than the one that disappeared from shelves a decade ago. One of the differences? Well, as the brewery was experimenting with its final flavor profile, it submitted it to the judges at the Great American Beer Festival last fall — and took home a medal. Wild Raspberry Ale is a 4.8 percent ABV slightly sweet, slightly tart beer that is now available in six-packs year-round.
Raspberry Blonde Ale
Raspberries get even more love from Durango-based Ska Brewing, which has put a twist on its classic True Blonde Ale — one of the brewery's oldest recipes — by adding raspberries, along with Cascade hops to "balance the zest of the fruit," the brewery says. The 5 percent ABV seasonal beer debuted at the beginning of March at the taproom and is now available statewide in six-packs.
Tree Shaker Imperial Tangerine IPA
Part of Odell's Tree Shaker series, which has also included peach and mango, Tangerine Tree Shaker should be available in six-packs starting in May. The 8 percent ABV double IPA blends bright tangerine flavors "with massive amounts of juicy, citrusy hops to create a mammoth-sized IPA with intense hop notes of ripe orange and stone fruit," the brewery says.
Dancy Pants Tangerine IPA
Elevation Beer Company
Speaking of tangerines, Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs just released a brand-new beer called Dancy Pants Tangerine IPA. The brewery says the beer, a hazy IPA, "is named for one of the oldest American citrus varieties" in the country, the Dancy orange
. The 6.5 percent ABV beer "pours gold and turbid with massive citrus aromas of orange rind and pith," the brewery says. "Slightly sweet tartness balanced by malt with a lingering marmalade finish." Dancy Pants is on shelves across Colorado now.
Sour Rita and Sassy Rita
"On a sweltering sunny day, it’s not easy to choose between a marg and a brew," says Crooked Stave, which is why the brewery has combined the flavors of both in two new fruity concoctions. Sour Rita, at 4.5 percent ABV, was brewed with lime salt and orange zest, while its counterpart, Sassy Rita, is a sour ale made with lime zest, orange zest and salt, and then aged in mezcal barrels. Both beers should be available in cans soon and on tap at Crooked Stave's Denver and Fort Collins taprooms.
Rindhouse: The Tangelo Saison Massacre
For this beer, Diebolt Brewing notched a few firsts when it comes to ingredients, including Mistral hops, a specific farmhouse yeast, and tangelo juice and rinds. The process was, apparently, a horror show: "We sawed the flesh off of tangelos and squeezed their juices into a vat of boiling wort. Then we preserved the flesh, baked it and let it soak back in the vat," the brewery says. "We also used farmhouse house yeast, because out there nobody could hear the screams. ... Full disclosure, it’s actually not at all frightening and a very approachable, refreshing saison." The 5.7 percent ABV beer will be available starting on Saturday, April 30, on draft and in sixteen-ounce cans to go.