That is right, ladies and gentleman, it’s beer season! Whether your evening is spent watching The Voice, baseball playoffs, the NFL or the Muppets, you have an extremely diverse selection of seasonal beers to crack open when you plop down on the couch. Lucky for you (and for me) I was tasked with preparing an article describing some of my favorite seasonal beers. I have found six unique selections that each put their own twist on the autumnal beer. Truth be told, I was not familiar with all of these beverages before preparing this article. However, my work is important to me, and I was willing to drink as many beers as was necessary to educate you on this important topic!
So, without further ado, here are the top seven beers I will be using to stock my fridge this fall:
The Pumpkin Beers
When I think fall seasonal brews, I think pumpkin beers. If you go into your local beer cave you can pick from a long list of pumpkin-flavored beers. The two below are my top picks.
Shipyard Pumpkin Ale
Shipyard is a Portland brew, and was the first fall season beer I ever tasted. I can still remember when my oldest brother handed me a Shipyard Pumpkin Ale while I was visiting him in Boston. Put simply, this beer offers a robust pumpkin flavor. The beer smells like a pumpkin pie. With only a mild aftertaste, this all-in pumpkin flavored beer is best enjoyed and savored on its own, so as to not overpower a meal or dessert.
Samuel Adams Pumpkin Batch
A Boston brew, Pumpkin Batch is Samuel Adams’ take on the pumpkin-flavored beer. It is distinctly different from the Shipyard brew in that the pumpkin influence, while certainly present, is less powerful. This beer is a bit smokey with the signature strong Samuel Adams aftertaste. Like the Shipyard, Pumpkin Batch is best not paired with a meal. In my opinion, pumpkin beers are a dessert all on their own!
This article may be titled Octobeer, but the rest of the world calls this season Octoberfest. It is not difficult to find an Octoberfest festival showcasing an array of seasonal brews. Consequently, a myriad of breweries offer their own Octoberfest beer.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest
This second Boston brew is probably one of Samuel Adams’ most famous flavors after the classic Boston Lager. If you are looking to purchase a seasonal beer for a party and want to play it safe, this one does not disappoint. This brew has a strong roasted taste with a hint of caramel in the finish, and it too has a strong aftertaste. However, unlike their Pumpkin Batch, this Octoberfest pairs well with most fall meals. I recommend a good stew or Thanksgiving dinner.
Blue Point Octoberfest
Blue Point Brewery is a Long Island favorite. In fact, before I describe their Octoberfest, I’d like to recommend their Toasted Lager–it just might be my favorite beer! Their Octoberfest is high quality as well. It is lighter (in color and taste) than Samuel Adams’ Octoberfest while still offering a refreshing roasted autumnal taste. This brew is crisp with almost no aftertaste. It is therefore easily paired with most meal or snacks.
Some Miscellaneous Brews
And, because not everyone wants the traditional, here are a couple more that are worth checking out this fall season.
Long Trail Harvest Barn Ale
This Vermont seasonal brew is dark and heavy. While not quite a Guinness, at first look you might think you were just poured one. It offers a strong, almost coffee-like taste, but finishes light and smooth. If you want a beer that’s extremely flavorful but not too overpowering to pair with a salty snack, give the Harvest Barn Ale a try.
Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale
This Belgian-Style, Colorado brew offers a new twist on the fall seasonal brews. When you pour this beer, you might wonder if it is a fall brew at all. Its light, golden appearance is more reminiscent of a summer ale. However, it offers a crisp, light taste with a definite cinnamon influence that will leaving you thinking about nothing but a fall harvest festival. With a light aftertaste and smooth finish, I suggest you break out this beer when you serve your next fall pie. Apple pie is an obvious pairing choice, but I challenge you to try a chocolate cream pie as well.
I’m always looking for new recommendations–what’s your favorite autumnal brew?
Francis Tucker is a practicing attorney in New York City. He enjoys traveling, experimenting in the kitchen, and a good Scotch.