Food & Drink

Must – Try Fall Beers

The end of summer isn’t such a bad thing to those of us who revel in the magical combination of malt, hops, and yeast. For craft beer lovers, the arrival of rare seasonal brews is as good an excuse as any to stock up the old man-fridge with some fresh palate-pleasers. When high temps and BBQ-fueled bliss give way to a sharp crispness in the air, it’s time to trade in the low-alcohol lawnmower beers for the higher test brethren: darker brews packed with richer flavors and a heavier alcohol kick. With Oktoberfest right around the corner, finding your next perfect pint to quaff shouldn’t be too tricky. If you need a jump-start, dive into this sampling of must-try fall favorite craft beers to ease you into the colder season.

Wondering what differentiates a stout from a lager? Don’t worry, we’ve got a quick-n-dirty beer primer on some of the more common craft beer styles for you.

Lagers – Crisp, very light in color, low-hopped, usually lower in ABV.

Hefeweizen – Light colored fizzy wheat ale, yeast-tinged, low-hopped, cloudy.

IPAs – Anywhere from dark amber to light golden in color, very hoppy, higher ABV.

Oktoberfests – Copper-colored fall lagers, often malty, with subtle spices, dry finish.

Brown ale – Dark amber or brown, on the sweeter side, nutty, low ABV.

Porters – Dark, cola-colored, malty, sometimes with smoky flavors.

Stouts – Very dark, full-bodied, smooth and creamy, often with coffee/cocoa notes, typically moderate ABV.

Otter Creek Black IPA

Don’t be intimidated by its inky black pour, this Vermont-brewed IPA is surprisingly drinkable despite its potent strength. Subtle coffee and chocolate notes pair pleasantly on the palate. Piney blasts of hops in the nose and on the tongue pay appropriate homage to the rugged terrain of the Green Mountain State, provide a nice bittering balance in the finish to cut through the light cola-like sweetness. It’s dark, roasty, and deliciously complex without being too heavy, making it a great pick for the fading days of summer.

ABV: (Alcohol by Volume): 6.0%

Style: Black IPA

Brewery: Otter Creek Brewing

Left Hand Oktoberfest

Brewed in the springtime and cold-lagered throughout the summer months, Left Hand’s Oktoberfest is ready for prime time in the fall – and not a moment too soon. This dark golden beer is malty and sweet but not cloyingly so. Caramel mingles with a hint of biscuit, ending with a slightly spicy, dry finish that’s propped up by a light touch of hops. Paired with bratwurst and sauerkraut, this Marzen Lager is a crisp addition to any beer-fueled fall festivities.

ABV: 6.60%

Style: Marzen Lager

Brewery: Left Hand Brewing

4824_ModalView_2001_assetID_1861.jpeg

Southern Tier Pumking

If you’ve ever had a crazy hankering to drink pumpkin pie in liquid form, Southern Tier’s Pumking is about as close as you’ll get without actually throwing a slice into your blender. From start to finish, this sweet, creamy pumpkin ale is full-bodied, and bursting with flavor. Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and spice waft out of the glass and tingle your palate on the way down. It’s so good you’ll want to skip the pie altogether and dive right in – sorry, grandma. Now if only the real thing could give you this kind of buzz!

ABV: 8.6%

Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Co.

4825_ModalView_2002_assetID_1863.jpeg

Founders Breakfast Stout

Among the most top-rated craft beers of all time, Founders Breakfast Stout could very easily be a killer substitute for a reasonably well-balanced chilly weekend breakfast. This double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout has a lot going on in it, but it’s perfectly balanced and well-suited for avid coffee drinkers who also love a nice dark beer. The mocha aroma wafting up from this pint’s pitch black depths is potent, and the robust coffee flavor makes up substantive portion of the swallow too, though hints of bittersweet chocolate, oatmeal silkiness, and hops keep the sweetness in check. Sweet mercy!

ABV: 8.3%

Style: Imperial Stout

Brewery: Founders Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada Tumbler

A nice in-between brew for working your way up from light summer ales to the darker brews on this list, Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale delivers a taste of fall. This quaffable brown ale is slightly smoky and toasted in aroma, with a light sweetness that mingles with notes of brown sugar and a pleasant roasted nutty flavor on the taste buds. It’s a smooth transitional beer that’s not too heavy on the gut.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Brown Ale

Brewery: Sierra Nevada

4827_ModalView_2003_assetID_1865.jpeg

Blue Point Old Howling Bastard

Drink a few too many draughts of Blue Point’s Old Howling Bastard and you just may find yourself waking up in the woods tomorrow wondering what exactly happened to your clothes and your dignity. At 10% ABV (more than double the strength of your average macro brew), this barleywine style strong ale is not for the faint of heart — or lightweights, for that matter. But if you’re feeling adventurous, tasty flavors abound: toffee, vanilla, caramel, citrus, and bready malts collide with a deceptively smooth finish. Watch out though, if you’re not careful, it’ll kick like a mule in the morning.

ABV: 10%

Style: Barleywine

Brewery: Blue Point Brewing Company

Sixpoint Autumnation

Celebrating the fall harvest with a unique spin pumpkin ale, Sixpoint’s Autumnation is an adventure in spice and hops that aims to be different and succeeds in exciting ways. A bit more hoppy, citrusy, and bitter (in a good way) than you’d expect for the style, this cool combination also throws a touch of ginger and white pepper into the mix for a bit of zing to spruce up the pleasant pumpkin flavor. If you need to wake up after an afternoon nap by the fireplace, this is the brew for you.

ABV: 6.8%

Style: Barleywine

Brewery: Blue Point Brewing Company

Leave a Reply

avatar
Nathan Meunier

Nathan Meunier

Nathan Meunier is a freelance writer and professional nerd who slings words on video games, tech, and geek culture for a living. His work has appeared in the pages of Nintendo Power, Mac

Show all Nathan Meunier's Articles
EPC EP Carrillo Cigars Guide EP Carrillo cigar review Cigar Advisor Cover

2019 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to E.P. Carrillo Cigars

Take an E.P. Carrillo deep dive with us, as we sample every EPC cigar in the lineup for this CA review guide: whether you’re new to smoking or a grizzled vet, odds are, Ernesto has something you’ll love…

Read More
best cigars to pair with coffee cacover

2018 CA REPORT: 10 Best Cigars To Pair With Coffee

We are insanely passionate about our coffee; we’re the same way with cigars. And when you pair the two, magical things happen on the palate and in the olfactory senses. Learn why cigars go great with this beloved brew, plus our Top 10 great cigars to pair with it.

Read More
Laphroaig Quarter Cask Partagas Black Label Cigar Pairing CACover

CA Happy Hour: Laphroaig Quarter Cask + Partagas Black Label Cigar Pairing

Top shelf whisky (no 'e') deserves a hearty smoke - so for this Happy Hour, the Advisors combine Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Partagas Black Label for their must-have cigar pairing. The whisky and the cigar each have something special in their preparation that make them a perfect match; try for yourself and see!
Read More
Things to know about cigar boxes

5 Things You Need to Know About… Cigar Boxes

Learn 5 interesting facts about cigar boxes that'll make you give them a lot more respect - sometimes the cigar box is as important as the cigars inside!
Read More