A Beer For All Seasons

Our beer-y taste buds change with the weather—but Colorado’s craft brewers cater to our seasonal whimsies. Here, our top 24 beers: six each for summer, autumn, winter, and spring. 

August 2011


  • Ranger India Pale Ale
    New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins
    Malt Meter: 5
    Hops Meter: 8
    ABV: 6.5 percent

    Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewing has risen quickly in the brewery world on the back of crowd-pleasers like Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat—it’s now the third-largest craft brewer in America. We’ll add Ranger to that list of favorites, as an eminently approachable IPA that’s lovely, floral, and drinkable. Bottle, can, or draft beer: We dig it. newbelgium.com


  • Mothership Wit
    New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins
    Malt Meter: 5
    Hops Meter: 4
    ABV: 4.8 percent

    Miller calls High Life the “Champagne of beers” (yeah, we think that’s a little ridiculous too), but lately we’ve been thinking that this light, drinkable, and effervescent brew ought to have that title. Refreshing, with notes of orange peel, corriander, and yeast, this is an ideal brew for the changing seasons. newbelgium.com


  • St. Lupulin
    Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins
    Malt Meter: 5
    Hops Meter: 7
    ABV: 6.5 percent

    We’ve asked the folks at Odell to brew this baby year-round (right now, it’s available in late spring and summer). With a hoppy nose that hints at fresh-cut grass, this extra-pale ale lies somewhere on the spectrum between a pale ale and an IPA. And although we don’t think the 2011 batch is quite as perfect as last year’s edition (we’re nit-picking here, folks), this brew simply makes us happy. odellbrewing.com


  • White Rascal
    Avery Brewing Company, Boulder
    Malt Meter: 5
    Hops Meter: 5
    ABV: 5.6 percent

    Although it’s similar to New Belgium’s Mothership Wit, the White Rascal is a bit lighter on the spices and has a little more heft—all while being a brew one can drink quite a few of (trust us, we’ve sessioned the Rascal). Drink it when it’s just warm enough to open the windows, but not so hot you need to turn on the A/C. averybrewing.com


  • Regal Pilsner
    Breckenridge Brewery of Colorado, Denver
    Malt Meter: 5
    Hops Meter: 5
    ABV: 7.0 percent

    Double Pilsners are one of the toughest beer styles to get right. A brewer needs to balance an inherently light-style beer with a cranked-up alcohol level. The good folks at Breck, though, seem to walk that fine line with ease: Their Regal Pilsner is a little sweet and a little hoppy, with a full mouthfeel. It’s one of the finest double Pilsners we’ve tried—ever. breckbrew.com


  • ESB Special Ale
    Ska Brewing, Durango
    Malt Meter: 6
    Hops Meter: 4
    ABV: 6.3 percent

    When we’re in the mood for more than two beers, we can’t session an IPA that blows our taste buds away. Instead, we turn to this English-style ESB (an acronym for extra special bitter, which makes the name of this brew redundant—but, hey, we’re editors). Drink it cold, as us Yanks are wont to do, or let one warm a bit, and pretend it’s coming from a wood cask in a London pub. skabrewing.com


  • BONUS BOMBER: Apricot Blonde Ale
    Dry Dock Brewing Company, Aurora
    Malt Meter: 2
    Hops Meter: 0
    ABV: 5.1 percent

    If a beer can be described as “pretty,” this one is gorgeous. Normally, we shy away from fruit beers because of their cloying, perfume-y aftertaste. But that was before we tried Dry Dock’s homage to apricots. Drink this stunner in the late spring. drydockbrewing.com