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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

May 17, 2023

May craft beer releases

These crushable spring-time beers fit perfectly with the warming season

by Brian Beauchemin

With the temperatures quickly threatening us with Summer heat, this month’s releases include a variety of low alcohol, easy drinking beers. Wheat beers, light sour ales, and lagers dominate. Before the heat starts to drive us inside and crave for our AC, enjoy these delicious brews outdoors at a brewery or on your own back porch. A list of new and/or limited releases follows. Unless otherwise stated, all products are already available in taprooms and/or in the local market.

Birdsong Brewing

Pink Robots, a kettle sour ale with raspberries and blackberries, premieres this month. The low 3.9% ABV beer delivers a bright, tangy, and fruity deliciousness. Upfront berry aromatics and a lingering tartness come together for an easy-drinking experience.

Carolina Thread Trail from Blue Blaze is an American pale ale debuting on May 19. Photo courtesy

Blue Blaze Brewing Co.

Carolina Thread Trail pale ale arrives at the brewery’s taproom on May 19. This seasonal American pale ale utilizes Nugget and Cascade hops in tandem with a very drinkable 4.5% ABV. Local distribution follows on May 22. Amber Blaze is a well-balanced 5.6% American amber. This taproom-only beer is brewed every couple of years and is available May 20.

Legion Brewing

General Zara-Gose honors General Zaragoza who defeated the invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is a margarita sour beer with 4.7% ABV. Brewed with oranges and limes hand-zested and juiced by the brewery team, it is a fusion of sweet, salty, sour, and citrus. NC Riverbend pilsner malt and wheat were used.

Model A Brewing

The brewery won the CLT Brewed Best of Show Award for its Prohibition ESB (extra special bitter). The 5.0% ABV beer was brewed exclusively with English malts and hops providing light caramel and biscuit flavors balanced by a pleasant floral, earthy bitterness.

A crisp cold-fermented IPA, Cold in Cali is hopped with Amarillo, Motekua, and Citra lending bright hop aromas. The 5.9% ABV beer is clean, and lager-like with a west coast IPA finish.

Stuck in Lodi is a bigger west coast style IPA weighing in at 6.7% ABV.

Simcoe, Amarillo, and Cascade hops showcase this citrusy and piney IPA. Notes of grapefruit yield to a moderately sweet malt body and a dank but balanced bitter finish.

Just in time for Spring, Rolling Wit The Homies is a 5.3% ABV traditional Belgian Wit using orange peel, coriander and offering light spice notes from the Belgian yeast.

Keeping with the theme of lighter, refreshing beers, Beer for Burritos is a Mexican lager. Flaked maize provides a little sweetness yet it’s balanced nicely by German hops. The 5.5% ABV lager is a great accompaniment to tacos.

NoDa Brewing Company

Available at its North End taproom as well as Charlotte and Raleigh retailers, Vampire Walrus is a west coast double IPA that leans on the new experimental EXP 17701 hop that adds tropical and fruity notes. The beer also utilizes Mosaic hops to add complexity and Chinook for sharp, clean bitterness. It’s hoppy and dry in the finish with assertive bitterness and comes in at 8.3 ABV.

Watermelon Gose is fermented on fresh watermelon puree giving the already tart and salty wheat beer a sweet character along with some fruity tartness to boost. Available at the taproom as well as NC/SC retailers.

SLURP Surfin’ is the latest in NoDa’s Superior Lupulin Utilization Research Project (SLURP) beers. Available only at the taproom, this 6.5% ABV beer is fruity, bright, and piney with a bold grapefruit zest character. The bitterness to keep this beer in the West Coast style comes from Mosaic Incognito hops used in the whirlpool and then dry-hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Centennial hops.

Pilot Brewing

May’s Charity of the Month beer is Natural Hopitat. The IPA imparts both fruitiness and spiciness from a Belgian yeast strain. The brew is effervescent with a dry finish showcasing tropical hops, a fruity yeast character, and a soft, supporting grainy-sweet malt character. $2 from each four pack will be donated to Charlotte Wildlife Stewards whose mission is to create, preserve, and protect wildlife habitat through education, engagement, and enjoyment.

May 19 marks the return of Island Hopper IPA but with a new hop – Triumph – providing slightly more bitter characteristics in tandem with resiny-pine and stonefruit aromas. The beer was brewed with a unique blend of Norwegian kveik yeast strains called Hornindal’s blend leading to a 6.2% ABV. The yeast produces a tropical flavor and complex aroma that presents as stonefruit, pineapple, and dried fruit leather.

Jet Lager was brewed as a family affair. Pilot’s head of sales and lead bartender, Colby Current, brewed this beer with his father. The light, easy-drinking Mexican-style lager delivers a drinkable 5.4% ABV and a slight hint of lime from Motueka hops. Available only on draught.

Protagonist Beer

Huck Hefeweizen returns to its lineup this week. A traditional German-style hefeweizen, you’ll get aromas of banana and spicy clove intermingled with soft malt flavors to create a balanced beer with a light, creamy flavor. This naturally hazy, 4.7% ABV pale wheat beer offers a captivating head of dense white foam and an elevated carbonation level.

Resident Culture

Resident Culture’s Right Time launches May 19. Brittany Little/Foil Creative CLT

Premiering this weekend, Right Time Lager weighs in at a trim 4.5% ABV with hints of biscuit and bread dough. This American-style lager is slightly malt-forward, yet dry and crisp.

Red Clay Ciderworks

Blueberry Lemon Crumble is back due to popular demand. This cider is a lemony twist of its Blueberry Crumble. The semi-sweet pastry cider is loaded with apple and vanilla with notes of blueberry and bright lemon, finishing with a touch of cinnamon. Flowing from its nitro tap, the 6.5% ABV cider has a silky, creamy mouthfeel.

Town Brewing

Mariachi Static is a 4.8% ABV lager with lime. Pilsner, Vienna and Epiphany Bruehmalt malts pair well with Noble hops. The bright lime and hops balance a slight sweetness that with each sip instantly brings to mind relaxing on a beach.

Triple C Brewing

Cabin Fever is now available at Triple C Brewing. Photo courtesy

Cabin Fever is 4.3% ABV smoked Helles. The beer is a traditional German Helles lager with a touch of smoked malt. Light and easy drinking, with mild smoke and bread malt notes balanced by crisp noble hops. A nice intro-to-summer beer after surviving the winter months.

Another traditional German-style beer, Yellow Ridge is hefeweizen with strong aromas of banana esters and a smooth mouthfeel from the wheat. This is an easy drinking beer with a low 4.8% ABV.

Rounding out a trifecta of German beers, Umlaut is a 5.1% ABV German-style Kölsch with aromas of bready malt and noble hops. Light, crisp and dry, the beer will be available on draft and in cans May 17.

Flat Brim, a hazy IPA, is back May 19. This is a super juicy and tropical IPA with low bitterness and a low 5.2% ABV. A delicate mouthfeel is buoyed by big hop aromas of fresh mango and perfectly ripe pineapple courtesy of additions of Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Ekuanot hops.

Later in the month, a yet-to-be-named, gluten-reduced west coast IPA will be introduced. Mosaic, Sabro, and Motueka hops lend aromas of coconut, mango, berry, lemon, and lime. A single base malt provides a light color and the beer finishes dry, bitter, and crisp.

Wooden Robot

Botbier is a 6% ABV blonde farmhouse ale. This foeder-aged farmhouse ale was inspired by traditional Belgian saisons. Local pilsner malt and noble-type hops allow the mixed farmhouse culture to shine through, with notes of citrus, stonefruit, and a light funk.

Brewed with 1,200 pounds of delicious strawberries from Bush-N-Vine Farms in York, SC, Strawberry Swirl It! is inspired by the strawberry vanilla swirl ice cream served at the farm. The fruited sour ale with 6% ABV is brewed with local malt and aged with its house sour culture.

Return to Juice Island is a hazy IPA featuring Citra, El Dorado, and Sabro hops. Aromas of lime, orange, pineapple, and coconut burst out from this  6.5% ABV brew with a . A velvety mouthfeel balances with tame bitterness – leaving you ready for your next sip.

Rounding out Wooden Robot’s May releases is Doc Chicken, a 5.4% hoppy blonde ale. This easy drinking blonde ale is brewed with local pilsner and fest malt. Kettle hopped with Sterling and Lorian for a soft fruitiness and a crisp bitterness.

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