Top Ten Fall Beers: 2017 Edition
With pumpkin spice season rolling in, and bikini season making its’ way out, many bar hoppers will be looking for festive ways to roll in the fall. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Here at Evergreen we delved into our data to bring you our list of top fall beers to welcome the cool breezes and autumn leaves, listed from most to least available.
Sam Adams’ Octoberfest brew took home a gold medal in the German Beer Awards in Munich. It is the most accessible as well as the most welcoming for those newer to the craft beer scene. It features 5 different pale and caramel malts with copper color attributes reminiscent of fall. According to the Samuel Adams website, it pairs well with crab cakes, BBQ, and even desserts like apple pie.
As the name implies, New York based Southern Tier Brewing Co brings a dessert beer to the table that has a taste very similar to that of pumpkin pie. The malts bring a pie-crust like breadiness, as well as notes of caramel and vanilla. The spices that come through such as cinnamon and nutmeg give this pumpkin ale a drier finish that is full bodied yet well rounded. This is a fantastic choice for a beer float if you wish to step your dessert game up to another level.
Every year for Oktoberfest, Sierra Nevada collaborates with a different German brewery in order to produce both new and authentic beer. For 2017, they worked with Brauhaus Miltenberger to bring a light, and crisp brew with refreshing hints of lemon just in time for the Oktoberfest season.
Lucky for those who like imported Oktoberfest brews, this one is produced all year. It has a bit of a hoppier flavor profile, and the malts are very subtle. It is brewed in Germany and is one of the three flavors by Spaten imported to the US. This is also a good beginner drink, it is lighter compared to some of the others out there and isn’t too complex.
Ever heard of Punkin’ Chunkin’? If not – please check it out. If so, then it may behoove you to also know that Punkin’ Chunkin’ holds a place near and dear in the hearts of those from Dogfish Head. This mixture of pumpkin and brown sugar goodness was curated in 1994, before Dogfish Head even opened their doors. With a slight cinnamon tingle on the tongue, mixed with clove and allspice, this Punkin Ale pairs well with sharp cheddar, turkey, stuffing, and other autumnal delicacies.
If you’re looking for something different than the other things on this list, this will be your bet. Some describe this one as being more of an alcoholic pumpkin product, as opposed to an alcoholic product with the essence of pumpkin. This shandy also has hints of citrus, and is very commonly used as a cocktail mixer for a variety of drinks.
Dominant in orange and coriander flavor, this ale is a brings both sweet and tarte elements to the palette. It is a Witbier, which means that they used unmalted wheat in the process, which provides a lighter bodied flavor. Catawba offers their White Zombie ale year round, and they suggest that it pairs well with fruits, seafood, and brunch foods.
Deschutes takes a particular pride in their Autumn IPA being one exempt of pumpkin flavor, so if you’re not a pumpkin fan but would like to take part in the fall craft beer festivities, this one’s for you. It is much hoppier than typical Marzen/Oktoberfest beers, and has strong notes of pine that are a classic attribute to West Coast IPAs. Heavy in the herbal and spice element, with slight hints of fruit, this IPA provides a nice change of pace for fall brews.
Despite its dark color, this porter is very light and drinkable. It has traces of ginger, and due to the dark malts used in the brewing process, there are also hints of chocolate that accompany the autumnal aspects of this seasonal treat. That being said, it isn’t too sweet, and still gives room to be paired with both dinner and dessert foods.
A good introduction for those newer to more sour beers, Fuego Del Otono has a citrus aroma that hits both the nose and the palette on the forefront. It has a lower spice profile than some of the other beers on this list, but maintains subtle chestnut and caramel flavors to balance out the citrus.
Honorable Mentions – Though these didn’t make our top ten list, these five choices still deserve to be acknowledged for qualities that make them stand out.
On top of traditional Oktoberfest elements, there’s a touch of honey that ties together the malty toffee finish.
Featuring lightly toasted malts, this one pairs particularly well with BBQ. It features a variety of German hops that brings diversity to the overall flavor.
This one is unique because it comes from the oldest brewing company in the world, which has been around since the 11th century. Its slightly bready and features slight grassiness, and is both refreshing and drinkable.
One glance at the ABV for this brew, and it just screams, “mischief.” AleSmith’s seasonal red ale features distinct tropical flavor mixed with the pine element from the hops. Rich caramel malts help balance out the experience, and according to AleSmith, this one pairs well with caramel apples and toffee.
This ale from Avery’s barrel series is the most difficult on this list to find, but it is worth the effort. It packs a strong punch, sitting at a whopping 18.8% ABV, and it is heavy handed in the malt department, with low hop and yeast profiles. It’s got a complex mix of spice oriented flavors, that pairs well with bread pudding and chocolate!