Tap This: Some fall beers to sip on chilly evenings
The temperatures are cooling, leaves are falling, pumpkin spices are flowing, and in the evening fires are roaring. It’s safe to say fall is here. This is a favorite time for many beer drinkers who have very popular options from their favorite breweries lining the shelves.
Pumpkin beers are a dominant style right now but many breweries offer other fall seasonal beers sans pumpkin. The key with fall seasonal beers is to look for something with a bit more heft then a summer beer but not as much as a winter offering.
Whether you love pumpkin beer, malty Oktoberfest or a variation on typical fall offerings here is a short list of beers to enjoy this fall. Enjoy them huddled around a fire-pit or curled up at home watching your favorite movie.
Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin: The trick with pumpkin beer is to find balance with an impactful flavor. Heavy Seas has achieved this with this 10 percent ABV bourbon barrel aged imperial pumpkin ale. Spice notes are still on display but seemingly melt into smooth bourbon notes with hints of chocolate and vanilla. The full body makes this a fantastic beer for sipping while relaxing around a fire roasting s’mores with friends. Just keep in mind the high ABV because there is very little alcohol heat and not respecting this beer can cause a wonderful night to end early.
Harpoon Flannel Friday: The newest offering from Harpoon offers a spin for the season with this hoppy amber ale. The wonderfully smooth malts are reminiscent of the popular Oktoberfest style but with a bit more sweetness and a lot more hops. This is a well balanced beer with bright highlights of citrus and pine dancing throughout semi-sweet caramel malts. The 5.7 percent ABV makes it a great beer to have on hand for evening get-togethers. Flannel Friday gets points for great artwork that perfectly captures the fall vibe.
Sam Adams Octoberfest: It is nearly impossible to create a list of great fall beers without including at least one Oktoberfest. While not brewed in Germany, this beer embodies the true Oktoberfest style. The silky smooth malts with subtle noble hop spice makes for a beer that could and should be enjoyed by the liter. This is not only one of Sam Adams most popular beers, it is one they have been brewing for a while. The brewery has known for quite some time how to brew great beer and they are still doing that today.
Elysian Brewing Punkuccino: Elysian is the king of pumpkin beers. The brewery has long been at the forefront of the style and every year brews dozens of variations on the pumpkin beer style for its popular Great Pumpkin Beer Fest. Punkuccino is certainly a unique spin on the pumpkin beer style combing a smooth coffee ale with pumpkin spice notes. If you are worried about the beer tasting like a super sweet pumpkin spiced latte, fear not. This beer has great balance with refreshingly bitter coffee notes balancing the pumpkin spice notes perfectly. This is a true pick me up beer during a night out.
The Bruery Autumn Maple: Autumn Maple replaces pumpkins with yams for a unique beer. The Belgian yeast, hefty additions of yams (15 pounds per barrel), cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses and maple syrup combine for a beer with a lot of sweetness. It is complex and highly drinkable. The 10 percent ABV will keep you warm on the chilliest of evenings.
Beer lovers are certainly a passionate bunch. We love finding new beers and love to change our drinking habits with the seasons. The fall season is an exciting time for craft beer.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.