Aaaah! Fall! The crisp chill in the air. The leaves crunching underfoot. The smells of apple pie and pumpkin muffins wafting through the city streets. The warm air briefly released from the quick-closing door of the neighborhood brewery. It’s not apple pie and pumpkin muffins you smell. It’s beer, and these are the flavors of fall as defined by beer.
The Flavors of Fall
So what exactly are those flavors? And why are they so important to our psyche and ability to brave the long cold days ahead? In other words, why do we get so excited about new beer releases? In my opinion, I think it has the same thing to do with the changing of the seasons. Think about it. We’ve been drinking IPAs, pale ales, pilsners, and the like for an entire season. And those work well in the heat of summer, lazying upon a beach or as a post-ride beverage.
But as the weather takes on the crisp chill and the leaves begin to change, so do our tastes for beer. Maybe, like the bears, we’re preparing for hibernation, too. Putting on our thick winter coat to survive the short days ahead. I can’t think of a much better way to spend a cool fall day than in a cozy room surrounded by good friends and a good dark, potent beer.
A Few of the Best Fall Beers
Just for you, we’ve compiled several beers that will serve us all well as the sun wanes, the nights get cool and long, and the flavors of fall take over.
Vermont comes to mind immediately when hearing maple, but it doesn’t have to be Vermont; maple flavors are everywhere. That, and of course, pancakes. We can drink beer for breakfast, right?
Maple Doodle Barrel-Aged Framinghammer
Imperial Baltic Porter @ 12%
Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers
Each batch of Framinghammer spends a lengthy conditioning period in various casks to create a smooth, chocolatey texture that compliments some creative additions. We wanted to push some boundaries with this variety and create a version inspired by maple snickerdoodles. Of course, we had to go to our friends and maple experts at Runamok to make that happen. Their maple-soaked cinnamon and vanilla are a decadent addition to this Framinghammer. (Jack’s Abby)
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Maple Barrel Aged Smoked Porter
Porter @ 9.1%
Hood River, OR
Enjoy opulent aromas of vanilla, candied walnuts, and bourbon-spiked coffee. Cozy notes of pecan pie baking in a wood-fired oven, rich toffee, and dark chocolate delight the palate before giving way to a decadent finish. Go ahead, treat yourself. (pFriem)
Spice it Up
The flavors of fall are not complete without the spices that come with it. Can’t you smell them? Cinnamon, baked apples, cloves, vanilla, nutmeg. Oh, I’m drooling. Who needs apple pie when you’ve got beers like these?
Rum Barrel-Aged Spice Cake
Imperial Brown Ale @ 12.7%
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City, MO
Meet Rum Barrel-Aged Spice Cake imperial brown ale aged in rum barrels. Flavors of cake drenched in rum, with brown sugar and spices. (Boulevard Brewing)
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Pecan Pie Brown Ale
English Brown Ale @ 8.0%
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
Brewed each fall, this Northern English Brown Ale is inspired by yours and our favorite fall dessert, the pecan pie. Brewed with Arizona pecans, vanilla beans, lactose, and maple syrup. (Arizona Wilderness)
Many people seem to have a love/hate relationship with pumpkin, but fall flavors as defined by beer would not be fall flavors without pumpkin beer. Life just doesn’t work that way. Besides, the pumpkin beers chosen for you here are quite special. They might just pair very well with Grandma’s pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Patch Ale
Pumpkin Ale @ 6.1%
Pumpkin Patch Ale is made with whole pumpkins that we chop up and roast by hand. The hand roast allows us to caramelize the natural sugars exactly as we like, which when combined with a delicate balance of spices creates the signature flavor of our classic fall-themed brew. We know you’ll appreciate the effort when you taste the difference roasting real pumpkins makes. (Rogue Ales)
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Pumpkin Ale @ 7.0%
A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. This pumpkin ale is brewed with pumpkin meat, brown sugar, and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with. (Dogfish Head)
Fresh Hops (Wet Hops)
Fresh hop beers are exactly what the name entails. From harvest to beer, no pellets in between. The flavors from these are second to none. So while you might think your taste buds are done with IPAs for the season, think again. These beers are extremely limited, though, so here’s to you being in the right place at right time for these beautifully flavored fall beers.
Hop Knife Harvest IPA
Fresh Hop IPA @ 6.2%
Tröegs Independent Brewing
Hop Knife recognizes the time-honored tradition of hand-harvesting hops at the peak of maturity. At the end of fermentation, the beer flows through Tröeg’s HopCyclone releasing a bounty of preserved citrus rind, pineapple and tropical aromas. (Tröegs)
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Wet Hop Pale Ale @ 6.1%
Surly Brewing Co.
This year’s iteration using both Citra and Mosaic hops. This ain’t beer for aging. Drink it fresh. Drink it now. (Surly)
Is it really fall without Oktoberfest beers? I think not! With a two-hundred-year party stemming from a wedding celebration, you simply gotta keep the party going. Click here to read a bit more about the history and to find a few more of your favorite Oktoberfest beers.
Lager at 6.5%
Georgetown Brewing Company
A malt forward lager with caramel and toasted malt flavors, Tomtoberfest is highly carbonated and effervescent with sweet aroma but a dry finish. Light hop aroma and flavor add to the crispness of the beer without inhibiting the malt profile. (Georgetown)
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Märzen @ 5.6%
Crowns and Hops Brewing Co
We have a tremendous amount of respect for traditional German beer styles, specifically lagers. Dopetoberfest is our ode to this beer style and nod to the culture. (Crowns and Hops)
Fall Flavors are Being Tapped Everywhere
With around 9,000 craft breweries in the U.S., there are many more beers out there that utilize these fall flavors, many of them small batch brews only available in the taproom. So when you hear of small batch releases at breweries near you, stop what you’re doing, grab your keys, and get your ass to the brewery.
Go! Now! Before they’re all gone, and you’re only stuck with…pumpkin beers!
Cheers to the beers with the fall flavors!
Get Your Lederhosen On!
Oktoberfest is fall! And with these beers, you can create your own Oktoberfest, no matter the month or the season.
Where Do the Hops Come From?
Fresh hops, wet hops, packaged hops, whatever you want to call them, hops make the beer. Learn about where they come from and how they are harvested to give you the beers you love.
Start Your Holiday Traditions Now
It’s never too late to start thinking of the holidays, and why not do so with holiday traditions. We’ve got some ideas nicely planned out for you. And those pesky gifts, it’s time to start thinking of that, too. Here you go. You’re welcome.