Sometimes, you drink in April.
April is the ficklest of months, oscillating from hospitable to reprehensible in the course of a 24-hour span. It’s the kind of month that really drives one to drink.
Luckily, the releases this month give good cause to the habit. April also happens to be an inflection point in most breweries’ release schedule—this is when tons of new seasonals hit the shelves, and the brews you’ve grown tired of return to hibernation. The experimental drinker awakens, pockets fat with a fresh tax return, to wreak havoc on a refreshed market.
Inbound Fruit of the Loop
IPA, 6.4% ABV, n/a IBU
Fruit of the Loop has been a stalwart at Inbound BrewCo’s Northeast taproom, but last month, the uber-fruity American IPA was reborn as one of Inbound’s three newest tallboy cans. Fruit of the Loop isn't only one of Inbound’s most popular brews, but also one of its best. Hops du jour like Centennial, Cascade, and Chinook bubble up through the frothy head, giving off aromas of peach, grapefruit, and apricot. Does it taste like cereal, as the name suggests? Not in the traditional sense, because the malt is nearly subsumed with the squishy taste of fruit. But this one could easily stand in for those sugary breakfasts your mom only let you have one day a week.
Bauhaus Short Pants
Shandy, 4.5% ABV, 15 IBU
Perhaps Northeast brewer Bauhaus was a bit premature releasing its summer knockback beer, but with the weather teasing between three seasons simultaneously, have you ever needed a 12-ounce refresher more than you do now? Built to contend with Leine’s trashy but effective Summer Shandy, Short Pants ups the ante with fresh lemon zest, lemon concentrate, and lemon puree instead of the factory sweeteners other shandies use. That choice pays dividends in the aroma—a bustling, pithy scent bursts out of the can—and there’s no sickeningly sweet aftertaste. Is it the beer that’s going to blow Untappd users out of the shallow end? Probably not. But if you need something to hit the spot on an imagined summer day, Short Pants will be there for you.
Insight Royal Nüisance
Lager, 4.7% ABV, 12 IBU
A German lager has been in Insight’s plans since the early days, but it took more than three years for that crisp, golden dream came true in the form of Royal Nüisance. If your last name is Schneider or Weiss, this might be your new favorite local beer. Royal Nüisance goes down like your grandpa likes it, finishing super clean, but its unfiltered body gives a great, bready biscuit taste to it. It’s a traditional marvel that’s the ideological opposite of Rowdy Uncle—the Moscow Mule-inspired sequel to last year’s gin-and-tonic beer Crazy Aunt—that Insight will release on May 1.
Wicked Wort Barrel-Aged Imperial Pecan Brown Ale
Imperial brown ale, 8.7% ABV, 28 IBU
Wicked Wort has wisely decided to rename its imperial brown ale D’s Nuts, and the rechristened Barrel-Aged Imperial Pecan Brown Ale re-debuted Friday at the brewery’s Robbinsdale taproom. Though my bottled one poured with little head, the aroma was rich and complex, giving off big nosefuls of roasted pecan. There’s more barrel in the nose than the body; instead of smoke and char, you get flavors of brown sugar and dark booze. It’d be an excellent complement to a sticky slice of pecan pie, so grab one of the few bottles floating around if you’re responsible for dessert at an upcoming potluck.
Lupulin Straight Hash Homie
Imperial IPA, 7.7% ABV, 60 IBU
Lupulin owner Jeff Zierdt wants the annual release of Straight Hash Homie to be akin to Darkness Day. It’s fitting, given that the Big Lake brewery is the preeminent IPA dealer in the state, so go ahead and circle 4/20 on your calendar for the foreseeable future. Straight Hash Homie 2018 is the first to get a can run, though the supplies will be limited. If you want to get your hands on this pure-lupulin-powder-hopped NE double IPA, you’ll need to go to the brewery or its neighbor Lake Liquors. It’ll be worth your trip, though—this Randy Moss-inspired brew is a potent glass of hashish-smelling hops.
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