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Spring Beers: Ale House has the old, the new, and favorites on tap

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Spring is here in full force and that means "light and bright" - lighter and brighter clothing, weather, days, colors, and you guessed it - beer. After months of winter ales and darker, heavier beers like Porters and Stouts, spring brings lighter-colored, refreshingly crisp flavors.

This year, spring ales include Sam Adams Alpine Spring, New Belgium's Dig, Pyramid's Fling, Ninkasi's Spring Reign, and Sliver City's Deluxe Spring Lager.

"The thing is, the concept of spring ales is dying," said Craig Dickens, owner of Ale House Sports Pub & Grille in Tacoma. "These days, regardless of seasons, when it comes to brewing beer anything goes. It's like the retail concept of holiday seasons, and how they're overlapping more and more these days. I've seen Christmas displays and commercials long before Thanksgiving."

Spring ales use to hit the market in early March, but this year, Boston Beer Company released its Sam Adams Alpine Spring in January. Pyramid Snowcap, a winter beer, is now available year-round.

"Many breweries are releasing other styles of beer and calling them a spring seasonal," said the Ale House owner. "Widmer's 2012 Dark Saison and Redhook's Nut Brown are a few."

Some companies are also releasing alternate IPA's (India Pale Ale) as their spring ales. Alaskan's Black IPA, Mac & Jack's Cascadian Dark Ale (high at 7.0 ABV, alcohol by volume), and Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye IPA fall in this category. Deschutes will be releasing a spring/summer transitional called the Conflux White IPA, and Full Sale Brewing has dubbed their beer as a "LTD" series (living the dream) - they release a different LTD style every spring.

Other breweries are releasing spring ales as Irish ales, as well. Diamond Knot's Slane's Irish Style Red and Dick's Irish are among them.

Hence, whatever you fancy, you're sure to, "enjoy the transition to spring," said Dickens.

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