Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder.
by Jessica Toscano Sep 18, 2020
If you consider yourself a craft beer snob, autumn is your season. With cooler temperatures joins notes of pumpkin, maple, apple, caramel, and more, all delectably manufactured into none other than seasonal blends.
These short-term brews make it possible for you to relish this time of year, replacing summer’s hoppy beers with fall’s heavy-bodied ales and swapping refreshing citrus for warm spices. Not to mention, some of these flavors come well-equipped in Halloween-themed packaging, making these crafts more festive than your otherwise go-to drafts.
Whether you’re seeking fresh flavors or new brands, allow us to guide you through this upcoming season’s best blends with some of our favorites.
The Pumpkin Ale
Ales are characterized by their fermentation process, brewed in warmer temperatures of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and known to release more fruity and spicy palettes, according to Allagash Brewing Company. Pumpkin ales in particular incorporate pumpkin flesh, juice, or puree with spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg for added zest.
Elysian utilizes pumpkin to its core, beginning with their mixture of raw and roasted pumpkin seeds, followed by pumpkin flesh in their mash and fermenter. Finally, they fuse pumpkin puree with juice for sweetness in this ale that ends on a surprisingly dry note.
Perk up with this caffeinated spin on Elysian’s classic pumpkin ale. A shot of coffee offers a pungent balance to this otherwise sweet combo of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg to create the perfect blend of PSL meets dark ale.
Bittersweet Apple Ale
Fermented apple flavors truly set these ales apart, adding a crisp yet bitter delicacy to your beer. Unlike hard ciders, apple ales attain their alcohol content from fermented and malted grain, often in addition to pressed juice or cider.
This fan favorite captures the refreshing taste of Granny Smith apples in a unique medium-bodied white ale, best suited for the transition from summer to fall; although, the Canadian brewery made it possible for you to enjoy its sweet taste year-round.
It’s rare to come across an Oktoberfest that isn’t a lager—characterized by lower fermenting temperatures of around 42 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and known to heighten the flavor of grains and hops and encourage a smooth, crisp taste.
This amber-tinted lager is ideal for any beer drinker with a slightly sweet and nutty palette. A bit on the heavier side, it’s best to casually sip alongside a baked pretzel snack or marinated chicken feast.
You’re most likely to come across a maple stout or porter, both brewed from dark grains and heavier in body. While differences between the two remain controversial, the defining characteristic comes down to its mash: Stouts typically require unmalted roasted barley, while porters rely on malted. Ultimately, maple is the staple ingredient for adding sweetness to these otherwise dense beers.
Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and bourbon pair this creamy stout well with decadent desserts, earning its heavy body a top spot on our list of fall favorites. Sip on the coolest of nights for full-blown boozy warmth.