Breweries are always one season ahead. In preparation for the spring and summer months, light, flavorful and easy to drink beers are slated to be on tap. Check out this list of locally available beers designed for longer-than-usual nights on the patio and backyard barbecues.
12 Gates Brewing Company
80 Earhart Drive, Williamsville (906-6600)
Water Mill Pils (5.7 percent). This beer follows a traditional Bavarian brewing process and is made using all German grains and hops. Look for a light breadiness with a clean but floral hop presence. After you dig your lawn mower out of the garage and tackle your yard, reach for a glass of this pilsner to reward yourself for a job well done.
Swipe Right Belgian Single (6.1 percent). A classic and clean Belgian Single with a clean malt and hop profile and a little kick of a spicy Belgian yeast. The Swipe Right is a great springtime beer to enjoy just as the flowers are blooming and nature is getting ready for a new season.
42 North Brewing Company
25 Pine St., East Aurora (805-7500)
Creekside Session IPA (4.8 percent). A sunny and flavorful blend of Sorachi Ace and Citra hops provide a refreshing lemon, spice and tropical fruit notes on a crisp, refreshing malt hammock. This beer will quench your thirst after a long hike or bike ride along the water.
Big Ditch Brewing Company
55 E. Huron St. (854-5050)
Squeezer (4.4 percent). This dry-hopped kettled-soured Kölsch squeezes complex flavors into an easy-drinking beverage. The beer starts with simple pilsner malt and ends with substantial amounts of New Zealand hops. The result is an interesting white grape aroma and flavor that remains extremely refreshing with a clean, tart finish.
FC (Fantastically Crushable) (3.5 percent). This session wheat India pale ale was brewed in collaboration with FC Buffalo, Buffalo’s semi-professional soccer team. This light and crisp summer beer features the irresistible aroma and flavor of pineapples and oranges.
Community Beer Works
15 Lafayette Ave. (759-4677)
Rutherford B. Haze (5.9 percent). This Belgian wheat beer is made using Trappist yeast to impart ester flavors. The summer seasonal is easy to drink on a hot day. This spring/summer seasonal is available from March until September, at which time The Wake of Rutherford B. Haze - held at Hot Mama’s Canteen - retires the beer until the following spring.
Kettle Sour 4- KS4 (4.5 percent). Kettle souring is a process wherein natural bacteria found in yogurt and probiotics is used to ferment the beer. This modern technique allows a less intense sourness that is much more approachable to people discovering sour beer for the first time. This beer is yet to be named, but the fourth in the kettle sour series will certainly leave you puckering your lips.
[Read Kevin Wise's cover story on locally brewed gateway beers]
Ellicottville Brewing Company
28 Monroe St., Ellicottville (699-2537)
Mow Master (5 percent). Mow Master Ultra Pale Ale uses Belgian Cara malts and an array of aromatic American hops to create a one-of-a-kind citrusy warm weather pale ale that is light on body and bitterness - but big on flavor and aroma. This one’s for you, lawn mower master.
[Past feature: Follow the crowd to Ellicottville]
Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing
8398 US-20, Westfield (793-9463)
Lim Wit (5 percent). Also known as a shandy, this beer/soft drink hybrid has an aroma that starts like a traditional Hefeweizen with notes of banana and clove and finishes with light lime.
unCommon Passion (4.75 percent). This radler has a strong aroma of berries and tropical fruit with a light malt backnote. The flavor starts with bright tropical fruit and finishes with a slight citrus bitterness and a thirst-quenching light mouth feel.
[Read Kevin Wise's report on Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing]
Four Mile Brewing
202 E. Greene St., Olean (373-2337)
Mango Wheat (5.4 percent). A hybrid wheat ale brewed with a heap of mango puree. Fruit notes provide complexity to the wheat and barley flavors. Mangoes are the perfect summer fruit.
Green Street IPA (5.5 percent). This India pale ale is a very sharp, crisp, and vibrant IPA brewed with three varieties of hops and four varieties of malts. This IPA has bright tones of citrus with notes of lime, lemon, and pineapple. Citrus and summer combined with a lower ABV is summer in a glass!
Flying Bison Brewing Company
840 Seneca St. (873-1557)
Down By the River (7.5 percent). An India pale ale with a full-flavor balance between Belgian yeast spiciness and citrusy American hop flavor. It has a dry finish and fairly low bitterness for an IPA.
Buffalo Kölsch 716 (5.1 percent). A lightly hopped golden beer made with all-German ingredients. It's reserved for spring and summer because of its light-bodied refreshing nature. This is an all-purpose lawnmower/picnic/hot weather beer.
[See photos from Buffalo's Groundhog Day party in Flying Bison]
Gene McCarthy’s / Old First Ward Brewing Company
73 Hamburg St. (855-8948)
The Bloch: English Bitter (4.5 percent). This version of an English bitter style classic is characterized by light malt flavors and a slight toffee sourness.
Short Sleeves (5 percent). This American hoppy wheat ale is a refreshingly crisp, aromatic wheat ale designed for the dog days of summer. No sweatshirts are allowed while drinking this one.
Gordon Biersch – Walden Galleria
P102 Galleria Drive, Cheektowaga (683-0050)
Maibock (7 percent). This beer is a high alcohol by volume classic-style Einbecker lager with a strong toasted caramel flavor and balanced hop bitterness. Maibock translates to the bock beer of May and this style is customarily served at festivals in the spring.
Hamburg Brewing Company
6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg (649-3249)
Sweet Tang (5 percent). An American style lager brewed with grapefruit, pilsner and honey malt and hopped with Cascade. It's immensely refreshing and well-suited for warmer months.
Gose (3.6 percent). This traditional German-style Gose is brewed with Mediterranean Sea salt, coriander and blackberry puree. Red wheat malt from New York Craft Malt was used for a light feel and kettle souring was used to impart some funky flavor. This purple-colored beer reminds you that sometimes it’s nice to go with something on the funky side.
New York Beer Project
6933 S. Transit Road, Lockport (743-6927)
Cosmo Wit (5 percent). This is a traditional-style Witbier made with wheat, Pilsner malt and flaked oats and spiced with coriander, sweet and bitter orange peel. Then, freshly squeezed lime and cranberry juice from Ashker’s juice bar is added to provide flavors reminiscent of a cosmopolitan cocktail.
Smoked IPA with Pineapple (Circle of Trust) (6.8 percent). Brewed in collaboration with Resurgence, this beer contains honey malt and 40 percent mesquite and beechwood-smoked malts. Generous hops and fresh pineapple juice from Ashker’s round out this beer, also called Circle of Trust.
Pan-American Grill & Brewery
391 Washington St. (856-0062)
Single Hop Series: Centennial XPA (5.4 percent). The XPA, or Extra Pale ale, is an extra hoppy version of a pale ale. In this case, the piney and citrusy character of Centennial hops blend with a light malt sweetness for a sessionable pale ale.
New Zealand Pilsner (5.8 percent). A modern take on a German classic brewed with a combination of Saaz and Wakatu hops, then dry hopped and lagered for a minimum of eight weeks. The unique lime character of the Wakatu hop makes this hoppy pilsner something special.
Pearl Street Grill & Brewery
76 Pearl St. (856-2337)
Gin Spiced Saison (7 percent). This farmhouse ale is brewed with wheat and rye then spiced with lemon zest, coriander, cardamom and juniper berries. This light and spicy saison is better than a gin and tonic making the perfect summer drink even better.
Spirit of Buffalo Kolsch (5.4 percent). A light-colored German-style Kolsch, brewed with imported pilsner malt and German hops. Not only is it a refreshing summer beer, it's served on draft on the Spirit of Buffalo boat while it sails.
Resurgence Brewing Company
1250 Niagara St. (381-9868)
Cucumber Saison (4.2 percent ). Made with all Western New York grain, this classic farmhouse beer is loaded with fresh cucumber and lemon zest notes. This sessionable beer is perfect for the patio and pairs well with summer grilling. It's not fruity, not fussy and not asking anything of you but to sit back, relax and enjoy.
Rusty Nickel Brewing Company
4350 Seneca St., West Seneca (608-6155)
Slice O’ Havens Orange Creamsicle (9.8 percent). This signature imperial beer is a well-balanced blend of navel orange and vanilla with tons of body. As a high octane beer it has little to no alcohol taste and resembles orange Creamsicle ice cream with orange on the nose and vanilla undertones.
Southern Tier Brewing Company
2072 Stoneman Circle, Lakewood (763-5479)
Hop Sun (5.1 percent). This refreshing offering uses just one type of hop -- citrus-y Centennial -- but weaves in three types of malts, as well as some wheat, to create a summer-friendly beer.
3 Citrus Peel Out (8.5 percent). Blood orange, grapefruit and tangerine peels are used in the process, producing a flavor described as "a cornucopia of fruit goodness that's smooth and refreshing."
Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company
638 Lake St., Wilson (333-4000)
Goat Island Maibock (7.1 percent). This traditional German style Lager is produced in 10 barrel batches each spring. It's smooth with fruity malt characteristics and a perky, fresh hop presence throughout.
North 425 Pilsner (5 percent). A light-bodied and refreshing beer brewed with 100 percent Niagara Malt grain and hops from Vines n' Bines in Cambria.