Nothing against winter brews, with their big, bold flavor profiles, but I need a break. I'd love to take a breather from the winter weather as well, so I'm going to try to channel spring by cracking open a few cans that are lighter and brighter than the holiday seasonals.
Backwoods Brewing Company Copperline Amber Ale, $1.60-$1.90
From the Carson, Wash., brewery near the Columbia River, this ale is a hazy, light amber brew with a dense, two-finger head that collapses quickly. There is a lot of malt-laced biscuit on the nose along with tart fruit and resiny hops. It's well balanced on the palate, with smooth malt, soft hops, pear and roasted grain, and the finish is clean and dry.
Crooked Fence Train Wreck Red Ale, $1.50-$1.80
This ale pours a ruby tinged, bright amber with a light tan, porous head that leaves a nice lacing. Sweet biscuit aromas dominate, backed by caramel colored malt and just a subtle hint of earthy hops. It's round and creamy in the mouth with yeasty bread flavors, smooth malt, a touch of black pepper and a bigger hop bite than the nose would predict. It's a nice take on the style from this local brewery.
Victory Brewing Vital IPA, $1.60-$1.90
This hazy, straw colored brew from Downingtown, Penn., produces an explosive, three-finger head with good retention. A mix of big pine and fruity hops leads off, followed by a nice hit of sweet citrus. The palate is a mix of bracing, but not overly bitter, hops, soft malt, ripe lemon and grapefruit. It's fresh and just the thing to chase away the winter blues.