Many Cheers For Fall Beers
If you haven’t noticed, Fall has arrived. After a monsoon-like summer, I’m pretty thrilled to experience crisp weather, hot girls in scarves, and changing leaves (yeah, I “oohh” and “aahh” over it).
“Autumnal Yum”, a bougie term coined by Gwyneth Paltrow and new verbage for this season, is made up of flavors like warm cinnamon, pumpkin, pecan, and butternut squash. And I’m sure you’ve seen them instantly empower seasonal menus this time of year.
But food isn’t the only consumer good spotlighting these savory flavors as beers and cocktails are stepping up their game by infusing their own Autumnal Yum.
Some people are repulsed by seasonal brews – much like the way I felt when I saw Target’s “Holiday” inspired Red Velvet Chocolate Milk (there are no words). A recent Retweet from Beer Advocate …
“Pumpkin beer is the modern day equivalent of the mullet. Everybody that brewed one will be ashamed of it in a decade.”
I get what they’re jiving at. But my taste buds don’t. I’m a sucker for Fall beers. So much that when the cool weather rolls in, I immediately scan cocktail and beer selections at every restaurant, bar, and grocery store.
Since I’m a natural-born experimenter, I put a handful of popular fall beers to the test. Well, really not a test. Just a few opinions and a damn good excuse to knock a few back.
Shipyard Pumpkin Ale (Portland, ME)
I discovered this one at Galaxy Diner (they have pumpkin milkshakes, too). This ale was on the lighter side of the other pumpkin brews I’ve had. It has slight and sweet pumpkin flavors, not much spice with a smooth and mellow finish.
Legend’s Oktoberfest (Richmond, VA)
This Oktoberfest is my new love. Rich yet smooth, Legend’s gets it right with light caramel notes and a perfect malty finish. Being that it’s made locally, you can almost bet local restaurants and bars are carrying it.
Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale (Boston, MA)
This rich copper-colored ale has bold spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Not an overpowering sweet pumpkin flavor, savory spicy notes reign this beer.
Abita Pecan Harvest Ale (Abita Springs, LA)
This Louisiana brew deserves a mention. I found this 8 pack at World Market (love). This mild, light-colored ale won’t replicate pecan pie but includes flavors like roasted pecan, bread, and slight caramel flavors.
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Easton, PA)
I stumbled across this 4 pack for around $11 (pretty steep but still cheaper than ordering at a restaurant). This ale had subtle pumpkin flavors and a pleasant aftertaste but was a tiny bitter.
Southern Tier Pumpking (Lakewood, NY)
From just a whiff, I knew this one would be intense. Bold flavors of nutmeg, allspice, clove, pumpkin, and even graham cracker were prevalent. The perfume-y aftertaste was a disappointment and lingered too long. For those of you who despise sweet and seasonal beers, this one is not for you. This one’s closest to pumpkin pie in a bottle.
P.S. – Beer’s not the only way to get your Autumn on. Add a little Pumpkin beer to your chili. Feeling extra brave? Add a dash of cinnamon.
I adore good food; the restaurants that serve it, the energy around it (even the hoopla), and telling others about it. When I'm not grubbing down on a great meal or writing, I'm mixing aromatherapy oils, letting Jillian Michaels kick my ass, and discovering new indie music that eventually goes mainstream (sigh).
“Somehow I learned that I belonged with my people and that I had a responsibility to contribute to them.”October 20, 2015
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