This past weekend, beer lovers from around South Florida celebrated at the annual Sprung Spring Beer Festival.
New for 2018 was an extended selection of food trucks and the Sprung games — highlighted by some very animated wrestling matches.
But at the end of the day, it was all about the beer. Hundreds of IPAs, lagers, and porters were poured to sate the thirst and tastes of all attendees. A keen eye and palate could spot trends in the beers poured.
From a new IPA trend to light and fizzy ways to imbibe, here are the beers to look out for this spring.
New England IPA. Though West Coast IPAs continue to be popular, New England IPAs popped up all over Sprung. These beers are usually intentionally hazy to impart a creamier experience than the typical dry IPA. In addition, the New England IPAs are less bitter and dank than their West Coast cousins. The result is a sweet citrus taste that recalls tangerine and orange rather than pine and grapefruit. Lord Hobo Brewing Co., hailing from Woburn, Massachusetts, poured its Boom Sauce New England IPA. A fine example, this 7.8 percent ABV beer is made with Mosaic, Ella, and Amarillo hops and has a sweet orangey finish.
Salty Gose. If you love the taste of a margarita with a salt rim, try Westbrook's Gose. This light beer from South Carolina starts tart and finishes with a hint of salt. It's almost as if it were kissed by a sea breeze. This beer screams to be imbibed on a boat or at the beach.
Juicy berries. These berry beers were coveted at the festival for their dark-pink hues and sweet/tart profiles. Untitled Art by Mikerphone brewing is made with fresh raspberries, while 3 Stars Brewing's Nectar of the Bogs imparts a rich cranberry taste that's surprisingly light enough to allow for more than one. Descarga's Freaks Come Out at Night, a black currant and strawberry sour, is a great local berry beer to seek out.
Watermelon. At least three breweries poured beers made with summer's official fruit. San Francisco-based 21st Amendment Brewery's Hell or High Watermelon is a true porch-pounder. Remember watermelon Jolly Ranchers? This is the adult version in a can.
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Spiked seltzer. These refreshing carbonated drinks have a light, fruity flavor and lots of bubbles. MIA Beer Company's Hrd Wtr's cucumber lime is a crisp choice. The watermelon craze continues with Smirnoff's version.
Fruit shandies. Though it's snowing in much of the country, Miami temperatures are already hitting the 80s. The warm climate calls for refreshing beers that are low in alcohol. South Beach Brewing Company previewed its South Peach shandy, a flowery, light beverage flavored with juicy peaches.