Gone are the blustery days of nursing a heavy milk stout while huddled by the fireplace. It's spring now, and we're all too ready to head for the patios and porches with something cold and fizzy in hand. But choosing that perfect spring elixir? A daunting task, if you aren't settling for a case of Icehouse. Rather than navigating the aisles of beer all on our lonesome, though, we sought guidance from Kraig Torres, professional beer connoisseur-in-residence at Hop City (in other words, he owns the place). Kraig walked us through his five top picks for spring drinking (sprinking?) and gave us a good idea of what we should be packing in our picnics and lunchboxes this year:

Jailhouse Reprieve – This seasonal saison from Hampton, GA strikes the right balance between spicy and sweet. Light and easy in the glass, this limited release is a perfect food pairing for salads with vinegrette or pear slices. Perfect for a sunny spring afternoon.

Left Hand Good JuJu Ginger – This tangy ginger-forward beer is also light…almost white in the glass. At 4% ABV, it is built for sessionability, or at minimum a hot afternoon by the pool. Think of this concoction as a wheat beer alternative.

Bridgeport Stumptown Tart – A fruit bomb! This mélange of strawberries, raspberries, and marionberries is for the non-beer lover in every family. It is brewed with a Belgian-style yeast to accentuate the red fruit notes with an undercurrent of banana from the esters in the yeast. This will be a crowd pleaser for both the seasoned beer fan and rawest rookie.

Terrapin Hopzilla – No list of beer is complete without an IPA. Terrapin recently released a limited production double IPA with an absolute pallete-crushing 110 IBU’s (international bitterness units) of heavy hoppiness. Make sure this is your last beer of the night because everything else will seem downright timid.

Weyerbacher Insanity – Barleywine never had it so good. Weyerbacher takes there extremely good Blithering Idiot and age it in bourbon barrels to smooth out the rough edges. The resulting beer is indeed insanely good. This limited release emerges from its barrels every spring with notes of vanilla, caramel, dates and, of course, bourbon. A perfect nightcap as the temperature drops in the evening.