With each new season comes plenty of returning favorites and new craft beers to try, fall in love with and crave it all year long when the season ends. Lucky for craft beer lovers, fall is always booming with spicy, spooky and crazy good brews.
The Great Lakes Nosferatu and the Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen are some of my favorites. Pumking by Southern Tier, an imperial pumpkin ale, is at the very top of all fall craft beer lists, for good reason. Full of spice and pumpkin pie flavors, the Pumking has a delightful spice with balanced hops. The Nosferatu is an imperial red ale with a malt forward presence, but balances out with a sneaky hop bite at the end. Another great seasonal option is Bridge Brew Works Seldom Seen Saison, which is a Belgian ale with a dry finish like most saisons/farmhouse ales. New Belgium’s Pumkick cider and Harpoon’s Pumpkin Cider, along with Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider are some of my absolute loves when it comes to seasonal ciders. Some people think that pumpkin shouldn’t be mixed into beer, but most beer drinkers love the seasonal offering.
This awesome article confronts the pumpkin haters, which I totally love.
Brewing beer goes back hundreds of years and has provided a social bridge for many. The recent explosion of brewing craft beer has taken over and many breweries take pride in making small batches of specialty beers that are only available at a certain time in the year.
Spooky by Blue Mountain Brewery from Afton, Va. is from home-state so I have some special love for this beer. Spooky is an un-spiced imperial pumpkin ale that is aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels and American White Oak Rye barrels. This aging process provides a rich malt experience with cocoa nibs, coconut and vanilla flavors. According to Blue Mountain, there are over 200 pureed pumpkins in every batch of Spooky. With a really complex and rich mouthfeel, Spooky is unlike most seasonal brews and is only available through October.
Most breweries offer an Oktoberfest style beer or a beer brewed with pumpkin and spices, so finding one locally is incredibly easy. Rogue Farms, known for growing the ingredients in the beers right on their farm, pushes out a phenomenal Pumpkin Patch Ale during autumn. Rogue grows the pumpkins they use in this beer on their farm in Independence, Oregon. The Pumpkin Patch Ale is also preservative, chemical and additive free.
All in all, I LOVE fall and pumpkin beers. I love seasonal beers. I am sipping my Pumking while awaiting Great Lakes Christmas Ale to hit the market. What about you? Are you a pumpkin believer or do you draw the line at Pumpkin Spice Lattes?