Fall Beer Round-Up

A few things are certain every October: the leaves change colors; Christmas decorations appear on store shelves earlier and earlier; and there’s a greater variety of autumn-inspired beers. 
In past years, standard märzen-style and Oktoberfest varieties have been standard, as well as a couple of different pumpkin-flavored brews.  I’ve been a big fan of pumpkin beer for a long while now after discovering Capitol City Brewing Company’s Pumpkinator several years back.

But this year seems different; I’ve been overwhelmed by numerous varieties of pumpkin brews this year.  Apparently every medium to large craft brewery jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon this year.  And others are exploring other fall flavors, such as smoke, apples, and even maple syrup.

With so many breweries creating fall brews, it’s difficult to determine what’s worth trying and what’s worth not.  Thankfully, a few different publications – most notably, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Travel + Leisure – have helped to narrow the field.  So here’s a short summary of those lists, including a few of my personal seasonal favorites as well as a few exotic brews I have yet to hunt down. 

– The Bruery’s Autumn Maple.  An intriguing blend of yams, nutmeg, and of course, maple syrup.

– Dogfish Head Brewery’s Punkin Ale.  A regional favorite from an adventurous brewery known for experimenting with unique flavors and recipes.

– Captain Lawrence Brewing Company’s Golden Delicious.  Holding beer in apple-brandy barrels creates a sweet and tart cider-like brew.

– Sam Adam’s Bonfire Rauchbier.  A dark, full beer with a unique combination of smoke and malt; a hearty addition to any autumn meal.

– Flying Dog Brewery’s The Fear.  At 9% ABV – strong stuff to be sure – the dark brown brew is bold and substantial, with flavors of caramel and toasted graham cracker.

I was able to enjoy a few of the aforementioned brews at Rustico’s annual autumnal brew bash, an annual block party thrown at the restaurant’s Alexandria location.  Although it was a bit too crowded for my taste – as the below pictures attest – I did enjoy a few cold beers in absolutely perfect weather.  The restaurant had on hand “more than 50 amazing beers from all over the world including a slew of Pumpkin Ales, German Rarities and some of the most sought after Oktoberfests” and promised that “all…[would] be served up under an idyllic 68 degree afternoon sky… warm enough for a cold beer, cool enough for Brats.”

Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm  Comments Off on Fall Beer Round-Up  
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