C.V.’ss Fall Beer Picks

I set out to write a little post on summer beers, but we all know how quickly summer can disappear. So here’ss a list of some favorite fall seasonal brews that we’sve drinking around the QP office of late!

Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Co. (Lakewood, NY)
Beer: Pumking
Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 8.6%

There’ss a TON of pumpkin beers out there these days, most of which taste only of nutmeg/cinnamon/clove, and others that taste like nothing at all despite hiding ‘smade with pumkin flavor’s in the fine print, and just a few that capture the taste of pumpkin without ruining the beer. Pumking is one of the latter, and it does it really, really well. It’ss pumpkin pie in a bottle, and the beauty is that it is made with just a few, simple ingredients: pale malt, caramel malt, pureed pumpkin, two hop varietals (Magnum and Sterling) and of course water and yeast. In the hands of an inexperienced brewer these basic ingredients might not add up to much, but Southern Tier is not your average brewer. Highly recommended!!

Other pumpkin beer faves are Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head and Pumpledrumkin from Cisco Brewers.

Brewery: Maine Beer Co. (Freeport, ME)
Beer: MO
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.0%

To my knowledge MO isn’st a fall seasonal brew, but I only recently discovered it and I just can’st get enough. Besides’sif you’sre anything like me’sthere HAS to be a beer with big, uncluttered hop flavor in the fridge at all times, no matter the season. And MO is exactly that: uncluttered. No exotic ingredients or adjuncts, no frills or gimmicks, just a bottle with a plain white label and super fresh American hop flavors within’sthink orangy-pine-green-ness and you’sve nailed the flavor. Super dry and’sdare I say it’seven sessionable too! If you can only track down one beer on this list’smake sure it’ss a MO!

Brewery: Avery Brewing Co. (Boulder, CO)
Beer: Old Jubilation Ale
Style: English Old Ale
ABV: 8.3%

Avery Brewing puts out a ton of good stuff, and part of me feels bad recommending only one of their beers here, but Old Jubilation stands out for a couple of reasons. First, with it’ss deep ruby and translucent scarlet colors, it is easily the best looking beer in this lineup. Second, if MO is a gold standard in its showcase of hops, Old Jube is its equal in its display of malt flavor. Remarkably smooth for a beer of 8.3% abv, there’ss a ton of caramel mixed with roast and chocolate. A perfect finish to the first really cold day of fall!

Brewery: Thomas Hooker Brewing Co. (Bloomfield, CT)
Beer: Oktoberfest
Style: Marzen Lager (aka Oktoberfest Lager)
ABV: 5.7%

A good Marzen is very nearly as important to a fall beer list as a good pumpkin ale. Hooker’ss Marzen Lager, or Oktoberfest, is a solid choice. There’ss nothing particularly interesting, or different, or crazy about this beer, but suffice to say it’ss a perfect example of the style, and likely as good as any you’sre going to get this side of the Atlantic. Smooth and malty with a hint of peppery, Noble hops. Golden amber, not too dark, but just dark enough so that you know you’sre not drinking the ubiquitous ‘slight American lager’s. Everything in perfect balance!