Spring Brews 

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Too soon? OK, we're just a few weeks into winter, but many breweries are already starting to roll out their spring releases. Who am I to argue? With back-to-back inversions, I'm ready for anything that reminds me of warmer weather, sunshine and air you breathe rather than chew. Here are three of this spring's advance guard:

New Belgium Portage Porter, $1.39-$1.79

A tan head tops this opaque ebony brew, settling to a light lacing. This beer opens with subtle smoky aromas like the dying embers of a camp fire, along with dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate. The malt component is fairly subdued, lurking behind roasted grain flavors with a bit of char. Slightly bitter hops color the notes of mocha and coffee. This is a perfect match for the current winter weather.

Odell Brewing Runoff Red IPA, $1.69-$2.19

This beer pours a ruby-tinged dark amber with a two-finger head that collapses quickly, leaving a nice lacing. It opens with hefty aromas of resiny hops and citrus. This is a beautifully balanced brew with smooth malt backed by just the right hit of bitter hops. Tropical fruit flavors, touches of pine, toffee and sweet bread dough add interest. This pick is delicious for all seasons.

Samuel Adams Cold Snap, $1.39-$1.79

Nothing says spring like a Witbier, and this version from Sam Adams is a credible example of the style. With its hazy, dark lemon peel pour, this beer is topped by a thin head. Ripe citrus and tart grain aromas dominate on the nose. The flavors are simple but pleasant with lightly toasted wheat, soft fruit, spice and a touch of orange zest on the finish. f

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