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What We're Drinking Now: Beer Recommendations for Spring 2024

Explore the finest craft beers from across the US in our spring 2024 beer guide. From the delightfully sour Passion Fruit, Guava and Mango Saft from Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. to the delectably indulgent Dark Woods Barrel-Aged Stout from Batson River Brewing & Distilling, there's a brew for every beer enthusiast this spring. Cheers to the diverse and exciting world of American craft brewing!

What We're Drinking Now: Beer Recommendations for Spring 2024

Are you a beer enthusiast looking for your next hoppy adventure? Look no further! We've scoured the United States to bring you the finest craft beers from all corners of the country. Whether you're in New England, the Midwest, the Southeast, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest or on the West Coast, we've got you covered. Let's embark on a flavorful journey and savor the fresh brews that are the toast of the country this spring.

Disclaimer: It's impossible for our judges to review every single beer released by the nearly 10,000 breweries in the U.S. each week. As such, while this story serves as a peek at some of the best beers released recently that have scored highly in our Official Review, it also features beers that rank highly on other beer reviewing platforms, beer that have medaled in recent competitions or have been burning up message boards and forums with immense hype. If you're in the regions where these beers are available, we hope they become What You're Drinking Now!

Dark Woods Barrel-Aged Stout by Batson River Brewing & Distilling

New England – Wells, Maine

Dark Woods Barrel-Aged Stout by Batson River Brewing & Distilling

The Beer Connoisseur score: 95

ABV: 9.3%

Recently reviewed in our Official Review (read the review here), this inky black barrel-aged brew was the first beer released from Batson River Brewing & Distilling’s barrel program. And what a way to start!

This delectable dark beer delivers all the notable aromas and flavors one would expect of a BA stout – vanilla, charred oak, roasted grain – and our judge was specifically impressed by how smoothly it went down. “One surprising aspect of this beer is that it drank lighter than it should have. Meaning this went down like a 6 - 7% beer, not one with well over 9% strength,” said Scott Birdwell, Grand Master I BJCP judge.

The Batson brewers themselves seem extremely pumped for the future of the barrel program: “Because this was the first canned beer from our barrel program, it was important to us to get the blend just right,” said Head Brewer Dan Stampone. “The synergy between our beer and spirits programs affords us the latitude to do something truly special. The future looks very exciting.”

Mai Tai PA by Alvarado Street Brewery

West Coast – Salinas, California

Mai Tai PA by Alvarado Street Brewery

The Beer Connoisseur score: 91

ABV: 6.5%

Alvarado Street Brewery has been churning out top-tier IPAs since its inception in 2014. In the intervening ten years, the brewery has won an astounding 13 GABF medals, including in 2023 for their famed Mai Tai PA. In fact, that singular beer is responsible for five GABF wins for the brewery (in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2023).

One can see why it is such a critical darling. Striking label artwork catches the eye, but upon popping that can, a rush of tropical hop aromas greet drinkers’ noses – passion fruit, guava, lychee and more.

Surprisingly, this beer is a “single hop” IPA, meaning that the only hop included in its ingredient list is Mosaic – a favorite of IPA fans the world over. Beloved by critics and beer drinkers alike, grab a few cans of this if you can. You won’t be disappointed.

Clausthaler IPA by Radeberger


Clausthaler IPA by Radeberger

The Beer Connoisseur score: 90

ABV: 0.5%

Non-alcoholic beers have surged in popularity in recent years, and the NA boom only seems to be picking up steam as health-conscious drinkers aim to prioritize their waistlines over the rich flavors of a big, boozy, barrel-aged stout or the lush, hoppy waves of flavor delivered by outrageously hopped-up double IPAs.

Speaking of IPAs, Clausthaler IPA by Radeberger, based in Radeberg, Germany has another entrant into the non-alcoholic beer category. While the brewery’s Clausthaler Grapefruit and Clausthaler Original have long been pioneers in the field of NA malt beverages (with both beers debuting in the late 1970s), Clausthaler IPA is a new addition to the brewery’s portfolio, and, according to our judge, serves as a tremendous example of the NA IPA style.

“Overall, this is a rather refreshing rendition of a non-alcoholic Hazy IPA. While the lack of hop aroma detracts for the style, the hop flavors present do complement the presentation, delivering a very nice option for those craft beer drinkers looking for a non-alcoholic option.” – Joseph Formanek, National BJCP Judge

Head Hunter India Pale Ale by Fat Head’s Brewery

Mid-Atlantic – Middleburg Heights, Ohio

Head Hunter India Pale Ale by Fat Head’s Brewery

Untappd score: 3.95 out of 5

ABV: 7.5%

A highly decorated brewery with multiple locations and terrific branding, Fat Head’s has long been an Ohio craft beer staple. Perhaps its best-known beer is Head Hunter, a near-flawless representation of the standard American IPA style that knows what it is: a hop monster through and through.

The brewery’s website expresses that perfectly: “Head Hunter is an award-winning, aggressively dry-hopped, West Coast-Style IPA with a huge hop display of pine, grapefruit, citrus and pineapple. A punch-you-in-the-mouth brew for those who truly love their hops!”

Head Hunter recently won the GABF gold medal in the highly competitive American-Style India Pale Ale category, which was the beer’s first gold in that category and its first overall GABF medal since 2011. Grab a pint or six-pack of this across the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions wherever you can.

Passionfruit, Pink Guava, Mango Saft by Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.

Midwest – Florissant, Missouri

Passionfruit, Pink Guava, Mango Saft by Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.

Untappd score: 4.07 out of 5

ABV: 3.5%

A smaller brewery on this list is Narrow Gauge in Florissant, Missouri. Despite it lacking the nationwide distribution of, say, Radeberger, or the GABF history of Alvarado Street’s Mai Tai PA, Narrow Gauge’s Passionfruit, Pink Guava, Mango Saft won a 2023 GABF Gold Medal in the Specialty Berliner-Style Weisse category. Past winners in the category include major names like 10 Barrel and Breakside Brewery.

Narrow Gauge’s luscious sour beer produces an astounding pour out of the can, as a small yet pillowy head is produced atop an opaque orange body that seems to glow in the light – as it’s packed with top-notch ingredients.

This is a delectable sour beer, and it’s Untappd score conveys that. Nab a four-pack if you can!

Blackberry Smoke Lager by New Realm Brewing

Southeast – Atlanta, Georgia

Blackberry Smoke Lager by New Realm Brewing

The Beer Connoisseur score: 94

ABV: 4.5%

Blackberry Smoke Lager by New Realm Brewing in Atlanta has won back-to-back medals in the Great American Beer Festival’s Contemporary American-Style Lager category: a gold in 2022 and a bronze in 2023.

This kind of consistency is impressive from this fairly recent Atlanta brewery, but what would one expect from Mitch Steele – the mastermind of some of the best beers of all time during his decorated tenure with Stone Brewing.

According to our judge, “this is a marvelously well-balanced thirst quencher. With probably a little more body than you typically encounter with an American lager, this is still not a European lager in American lager sheep’s clothing. The body, the malt/grain flavor, the hopping is all within the accepted bounds for this style of beer. It’s just that all these parameters have been pushed closer to the edge of those bounds.”

Grab a sixer of this as temperatures begin to heat up – finally!

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