There are a few things that anyone can attribute to the fall season- the changing colors of leaves on trees, the smell of crisp air, and the comeback of seasonal craft beers.
Jon Richards, Cicerone Certified Beer Server at The Greenville Growler Station- http://greenvillegrowlerstation.com/ – offers his picks for the 10 Best Fall Seasonal Brews:
Southern Tier Pumking This one is an imperial pumpkin ale with all of the flavors of a pumpkin pie: big, rich, sweet pumpkin flavor, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, creamy vanilla, and even graham cracker crust. Very limited quantities on this guy, so don’t waste time.
Dogfish Head Punkin For those that don’t want all that aggressive pumpkin pie flavor, but still want a light hint of the season, Punkin is your beer. It’s got a smooth, meaty pumpkin flavor with a little spice, and the light body and sweetness of a brown ale. A delightfully subtle pumpkin beer.
Terrapin Pumpkinfest Here’s a brilliant idea: Terrapin Brewing makes an Oktoberfest style beer, and then turns it into a pumpkin beer. It starts with a forward, but delicate pumpkin and spice flavor and then slides smoothly into a firm, clean and sweet malty backbone, with just enough hops to close out with a dry finish.
Victory Festbier A wonderful Oktoberfestbier; light bodied, but firmly malty with sweet, bready, biscuity notes and a clean finish. Highly quaffable, and a great gap-bridger for moving your palate from summer toward winter. Get the pretzels and mustard ready!
Avery The Kaiser Forget subtle, this is an aggressive Oktoberfest for serious aficionados. This beer has a big hop presence right up front, and an aggressive malt backbone with big biscuity, caramel malt flavors to help balance down those hops. It’s almost to barleywine strength, but impressively smooth and balanced. Dangerous because you’ll want to have more than one.
Rogue Hazelnut Brown This award winning beer will be available later in the season- around November 1. It’s a smooth, light bodied brown ale with a distinct, but still quite balanced hazelnut flavor. Many beers try to achieve a nutty flavor, few do it so well as this one. Try it with braised pork, or a nutty cheese for the less adventurous.
Bell’s Expedition Stout Fall is the time to start accumulating, and consuming, stouts. Expedition is built for aging, but ready to go right away for those who can’t wait. It’s big and heavily roasted, carrying some dark chocolate and a bunch of espresso as well. It’s a great warming sipper for those cool fall nights looking forward to winter. And it only gets better the longer you wait.
Weyerbacher Insanity Have you ever had the pleasure of slowly sipping cognac with chocolate as you’re winding down from a long day? Well, if you want to substitute anything for the cognac, it’s this guy. Insanity starts as a huge, fruity, traditional barleywine, and then gets aged in bourbon barrels. It’s lusciously sweet, and full of bourbon notes which wrap up the sweet, fruity flavors of the barleywine. It’s rich, decadent, smooth, and full of flavor. Perfect in a snifter for a contemplative retreat into the library or the den. Don’t miss out.
Stone Double Bastard As the warm weather slips from our grasp and we slide inexorably toward winter, some of us take comfort in knowing beers like this are on their way. Double Bastard is the imperialized version of Stone’s well-known Arrogant Bastard ale, and each November brings us a delightful surprise. A heavy handed hoppiness dries and balances a big and boozy malt sweetness.
Highland Cold Mountain Highland has a world class winter warmer that does nothing so much as make you want to go on a hayride. It’s a little different every year, but always cleanly malty, sweet like cake, spicy, and full of vanilla with a little bit of cherry for good measure. It’s much lighter on the liver too as it usually checks in under 6%. For best results, enjoy with friends and a crackling fire on a cool fall night.