Endless Beer: Fall Beer Roundup
It’s October. Now there is no excuse to not be indulging in some kind of fall flavored food or drink. Yes, I said fall flavored. Fall has many flavors, you know. If you are not enjoying the fall flavors, well there is some sort of evil hiding in the depths of your soul. For the rest of you, we bring you the 2014 roundup of fall brews. There are so many to choose from that it is hard to narrow it down to a list. But, with the help of several trusty breweries, we were able to provide you this handy list. Note that these aren’t just your typical pumpkin beers or Oktoberfests. These are in your face flavors or different twists on the typical fall beers. In order to categorize this list in the most helpful way, we’re trying something new: word association. After tasting each of these offerings, we thought of the first word or phrase that comes to mind. Reviews of each brew to come.
21st Amendment/Elysian Collaboration: He Said He Said
Refreshing and Sweet. The collaboration of 21st Amendment and Elysian is one of the most unique I’ve found for the fall. The trappist version of the He Said He Said is the refreshing part of this four pack. While the pumpkin flavor is at the forefront, the characteristics of a Sour Belgian Trappist come through with a crisp finish. Meanwhile, the pumpkin porter provides a sweet and nearly creamy rendition of a porter with extra pumpkin to boot.
Toasty. The Abita Octoberfest is a classic lager with a sweet and toasty taste. The lager is a sweet classic Octoberfest with a pleasant roasted flavor and a hint of hops. The hops tone down the sweetness, making it a nice fall brew.
Pumpkin Pie. The Shipyard Pumpkinhead is the most reminiscent of a well balanced pumpkin pie. The first taste is definite pumpkin, followed by a light sweetness of the malts that lasts in a pleasant lingering aftertaste leaving a want for more. The light malt characteristics of the brew really complement the pumpkin. I think of a light and fluffy pumpkin pie filling when drinking this.
Dogfish Head Punkin
Traditional Pumpkin. Many of the pumpkin beers out there are sippers. Meaning, you can only have a couple in one sitting. The Punkin has the definite pumpkin flavors, but the pumpkin is a bit more subtle than some of the others on the list. This allows for you to have a couple more than originally planned in a sitting. I’d say this set the stage for pumpkin beers and Dogfish has stuck to the traditional pumpkin flavors here. Not too little, not too much.
Abita Pecan Ale
Thanksgiving. Either number one or two on my list, these suds really surprised me. I was excited to try something a little different, but I didn’t think it would be this good! The pecans add a unique flavor that obviously brings out nutty characterstics, but also a unique sweetness that closely resembles sweet potato casserole, pecan roll, and even a little bit of stuffing. It’s definitely a sweeter beer, but not as sweet as a pumpkin beer. The nutty flavors really come out and present this as an enjoyable “anytime beer.” Bring it out with the apps this Thanksgiving.
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin
Bold Pumpkin Flavor. Imperial is used here for a reason. Weyerbacher continues to master the perfect balance between pumpkin and booze in this intense brew. Pumpkin shines through the beer at a strong ABV. The booze provides the warming feeling, but does not take away from the beer at all. If anything, I’d replace a night cap spirit with this in the fall season. This is also one to cellar for next year – let that pumpkin get comfortable and let the malts sweeten.
Flying Dog Dogtoberfest
Sweet. This is one brew that Flying Dog decided to brew true to style. I say sweet because Flying Dog typically packs a punch in all of their brews whether through hops or ABV. However, here, they brew a Marzen as close to true form as possible. The aroma is sweet, and the taste is similar to toasted caramel, even a little bit of sweet corn flavors.
Southern Tier Warlock
Roasted Pumpkin. The other phrase I was going to use here was “must have.” This is my second year having the Warlock and it did not disappoint. The sweet, creamy, roasted malt flavor of the stout comes head-on, followed by an equally powerful flavor of pumpkin. This comes in bomber bottles – you won’t have a problem finishing one bottle of this.
Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin
Sweet and Spicy Balance. Many of the pumpkin beers are all pumpkin or all spice. It’s hard to find a middle ground that offers enough spice and enough pumpkin to really please you. This is one of the most balanced you’ll find.
Southern Tier Pumking
Halloween. Southern Tier found a combination of malts that provides a complex sweetness that is full-bodied. Pumking reminds me of Halloween because of a sweetness that is reminiscent of your favorite candy – sweet, but not so much that you’ll have sores on the roof of your mouth. The pumpkin takes on some of the sweetness and really steals the show. Hops don’t provide as much bitterness as they do a subtle earthy, spicy flavor underneath it all. Something about this beer makes for the perfect Halloween evening.
Flying Dog “The Fear” Imperial Pumpkin
Spicy. While it’s a sweet porter with pumpkin, “the fear” is really all about the secret blend of spices. The pumpkin takes second here as a complement to the spices. I got allspice and cinnamon coming on strong with a pleasant booze flavor pairing with pumpkin.