April is N.C. Beer Month, which might seem like one of those arbitrary celebrations until you see the full calendar of beer events at NCBeerMonth.com. It’s also Lawn and Garden Month, which will seem just as fitting to anyone who has seen their grass growing as fast as our state’s brewery scene lately.
So while these two months might seem disparate at first glance, they can be celebrated at the same time. After all, who among us hasn’t spent a day working in the yard, only to come out of the sun in search of a cold beer?
There’s a term for those quenching, quaffable beers best enjoyed after grueling work, and it’s a straightforward one: lawn-mower beers. For many, that means a cheap light lager in a can – but it doesn’t have to be light on flavor.
Here’s a six-pack of N.C.-brewed beers that offer lots of refreshment without compromising on flavor or complexity. All of them should be available in local beer stores except the Mother Earth, which is arriving this week. And they all come in cans, in case your mower has one of those fancy cup holders. They’re all between $1.75 and $2 a can or slightly less per can for a six-pack at Good Bottle Co.
• Action Man Lager, Howard Brewing, Lenoir: Beating back the villainous grass can make you feel like a superhero, and that’s especially true when you have this sweet, malty Vienna Lager in hand. 5.5 percent ABV.
• Park Day Pilsner, Mother Earth Brewing, Kinston: Mother Earth just started canning this pilsner, which won a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last year. It has a subtle breadiness and a crisp finish. 4.8 percent ABV.
• Gateway Kölsch, French Broad Brewing, Asheville: This beer is so named because the Kölsch style is a perfect gateway to those more accustomed to light lagers. It has a light body and a sweet, floral character. 5.3 percent ABV.
• White Zombie, Catawba Brewing Company, Morganton: The Belgian witbier style is inherently refreshing, and this orange peel and coriander-spiced version tastes even better if you amble to the refrigerator with outstretched arms, like the white silhouette on the can. 5.1 percent ABV.
• Pisgah Pale Ale, Pisgah Brewing, Black Mountain: Pisgah’s Pale Ale has been a favorite in Western North Carolina for some time, but the brewery just started packaging the beer in cans. It’s brewed with organic malts and only whole-leaf hops, resulting in a beer with a moderate hoppiness that finishes clean. 5.7 percent ABV.
• Cack-a-lacky Ginger Pale Ale, Fullsteam Brewing, Durham: Fullsteam’s first canned beer was brewed in partnership with Cackalacky, the Chapel Hill company that makesbarbecue sauce and other products. Fresh ginger imparts the spice here, though. 5 percent ABV.