Spring is back! We can feel it on our skin, smell it in the air and, more importantly, guzzle it in our pint glasses in beer gardens the length and breadth of Melbourne. When the sun is shining, the beer is for the imbibing, so we've pulled together some of the best craft beers to buy for spring.
BELGO | MOO BREW
An awesome brewery based in the grounds of Tassie's MONA, the far-out gallery's whacky art delivers their craft brews a quirky kick via osmosis. It's a great location for a spring break, and we can thoroughly recommend Moo Brew's Belgo. It might be a lighter beer, but before you get all up in arms with us, it's perfect for long, sunny sessions and it's a marriage made in heaven between a Belgian and an American pale Ale.
BEST FOR: Admiring the art, darling, after you've had one too many.
BELGIAN STYLE PALE ALE | WHITE RABBIT
Healesville's White Rabbit is another idyllic escape from the city, and the perfect spot to while away a sparkling spring day. Known for their tasty White and Dark Ales, they've just added a third craft beer to the range, the Pale Ale. A dynamic duo of Belgian styles, combined with aromatic hops, it's a hearty drop with a biscuity bite to it.
BEST FOR: Chasing rabbits through the long grass.
PACIFIC ALE | STONE & WOOD BREWING COMPANY
You can feel the love in Byron Bay, and the same's true of the gorgeous beach town's Stone & Wood Brewing Company, founded by three blokes who're mad keen for their craft beer and put heart and soul into every keg. The cloudy Pacific Ale combines all-Australian barley, wheat and Galaxy hops for a big, fruity flavour and thirst-quenching perfection.
BEST FOR: Guzzling on the sand, post-surf.
VALHALLA GOLDEN ALE | KOOINDA BREWERY
When the Heidelberg West-based Kooinda Brewery guys first started out, they seriously used an in-ground swimming pool to cool the beer during the brewing process. What could be more spring-tastic than that? We love their Valhalla Golden Ale, with a sweet malt finish, minimal bitterness, and delicate American hops.
BEST FOR: Sipping by the pool in your mankini.
YARRA VALLEY GOLD | GRAND RIDGE BREWERY
The Grand Ridge Brewery may well be situated in the teeny Gippsland country town of Mirboo North, but one of our favourite craft beers of theirs, perfectly suited for temperate spring days, takes the bountiful Yarra Valley as its inspiration. A full-bodied real ale with lively hoppy flavours and a velvety malt landing has scored many awards and is perfect for foodies who prefer a beer with their top notch Victorian produce.
BEST FOR: Going nuts on the cheese and salami.
ROAD TRIP AMERICAN IPA | HOLGATE BREWHOUSE
Based in the rural town of Woodend near the Macedon Ranges, the 15-year-old Holgate Brewhouse is a family-run affair based in a 19th century red brick hotel. Why not head out there to see this Victorian microbrewery in action? If you do, it seems silly not to settle for their Road Trip American IPA. It's a bit bolder than some on this list, but if you like your craft beer to pack a hoppy punch, this is the bruiser for you.
BEST FOR: Shooting billycans with your stetson on.
ONE FIFTY LASHES PALE ALE| JAMES SQUIRE
Taking as their mantra the story of Australia's first brewer, a convict who reached these shores on the first fleet, James Squire are producing some of the best craft beers in his honour over 150 years later, with a great brew bar on Melbourne's Russell Street. We love how kinky the One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale sounds, and we love its fruity aroma and gently flavoursome tickle, too.
BEST FOR: Getting saucy in suspenders on a sweaty spring day.
BICYCLE BEER | TEMPLE BREWING COMPANY
Hipsters rejoice, you can get a load of Temple's boutique beers without having to leave the People's Republic of Brunswick East. This Weston Street brewery is a cracker, with a bar on site and plenty of nibbles on the menu, too. When northside, of course you have to plump for the Bicycle Beer. Combining no fewer than seven hops, it's a spicy little craft beer with a springtime citrus kick and a dash of Grampians salt to bring out the malt.
BEST FOR: Loading up your Crumpler to take a few bottles home on the fixie.
STEAM ALE | MOUNTAIN GOAT BEER
Hidden amongst the warehouses of Richmond, we love the Mountain Goat crew and their Friday night pizza sessions in amongst the brewing vats. The crisp, all-organic Steam Ale is the perfect spring brew with zippy hops and a clear, bright nose with hints of citrus lapping at the sides. It may be on the city's edge, but it feels a million miles away.
BEST FOR: Chewing cud while bouncing merrily around the fields.
So there you have it, Listers. Our pick of the best craft beers for spring. Enjoy!
Need more beer? Check out our Fave 5 Melbourne Craft Beer Breweries round-up!