Autumnal Brews

Another Labor Day has passed and another summer has ended.  Days begin growing shorter and the weather cools.  Sweltering afternoons slowly transform into brisk evening breezes.  Leaves crackle under foot.  And when the weather changes so does one’s beer selection.  Bright floral summer flavors are traded for thicker, darker, and autumnal flavors.  Chief among these is the Märzen-style of beer more commonly referred to as Oktoberfest.

The popular rise of seasonal beers generally corresponded with the rise of the craft beer movement in the states.  Small, niche market brewers began creating limited-availability flavors particular to the season.  Following the Boston Brewery’s mainstream success (the folks responsible for Samuel Adams), more and more small and mid-sized breweries have created their own autumn-inspired beer, using harvest-inspired flavors such as pecans and pumpkin.

Along with Oktoberfest-style strong beers, pumpkin-flavored beer is becoming more widely available as well.  I discovered one such draft – The Pumpkinator – a lightly sweet ale flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin – a few years ago at one of the District’s only breweries.  Since then I’ve noticed several varieties of pumpkin beer turn up in specialty markets about this time each year.  Although it initially sounds less than appetizing, everyone I know who has tasted one is surprised, impressed, and ultimately, a convert.

Take advantage of the decreasing temperatures to enjoy a seasonal beer, one that’s bold in body, substantial in flavor, and rich in substance.  Sit outside and enjoy the cool wind that blows the fallen leaves down your street.  Have one drink more.  Because the cool autumn evenings will soon become cold winter nights; you’ll wish you had a little more meat on your bones.  Or a thicker sweater.

Published in: on October 10, 2010 at 11:29 pm  Comments Off on Autumnal Brews  
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