This year’s fall season began with leaves changing from green to red, pumpkins blossoming in the fields and hot apple cider returning to menus at local cafes. Another element that helped kick off the fall season was the release of fall seasonal craft beer flavors and styles.
Fall beer may not be the first thing people think about when the season begins but, the flavors and styles of autumns’ beer selection tend to excite the population of craft brew drinkers.
“Fall seasonals are the most popular of the beer seasonal styles,” Meghan Storey, author of the online blog, “Craft Beer Fall Seasonals 2015” from CraftBeer.com, said.
You do not have to be familiar with craft beer to begin appreciating the robust flavors and styles of this season’s beer variety.
“Pumpkin beer is so popular because everyone associates pumpkin with this time of year,” Jeremy Zuber, a craft beer brewer at Mad Anthony Brewing Co. in Fort Wayne, Indiana, said.
Pumpkin flavored everything is nothing new during fall and this is no different for the craft beer world. However, pumpkin is not the only popular type of beer for fall.
Michael Pound, author of the online blog, “Beer Me” described flavor profiles such as clove, ginger, cinnamon and honey, as being associated with fall beer styles. Dark and heavy styles of beers, like stouts and porters carry many of these flavor profiles.
A stout is a beer brewed from full-flavored roasted malts and top-fermenting yeast, sometimes with caramel sugar and high hop content, and a porter is brewed from well-roasted barley. Both beers are full-bodied and dark in color, as defined in 2basnob.com’s Beer Dictionary.
“People like stouts and porters during fall because they taste better when it’s cold out,” Zuber said. “Dark, deep beers and their flavors are comforting during the cold season.”
Mallory Sykes Carter, a Mad Anthony Brewing Co. regular customer, agrees with Zuber about these styles of craft beer for fall. “It doesn’t have to be fall for me to drink a dark beer but I definitely enjoy them more during this time,” Carter said. “They are heavy and have a well-rounded taste with some spice.”
Fall seasonal beers tend to be heavier and more unique than other seasonals, like summer lagers or spring wheat beers. Lagers are beers made with bottom-fermenting yeasts at almost freezing temperatures for a long period of time, as defined in the Beer Dictionary from 2basnob.com.
These types of beers are easy to access all year round, while many breweries usually release a larger variety of stouts, porters, and pumpkin beers only during the fall and winter seasons.
“I serve a lot of heavy styles and pumpkin flavored beers during the fall,” Stefanie Rice, a bartender at Salud Tapas n’ Tequilas, said. Salud Tapas n’ Tequilas is not a local brewery, but it serves a large selection of craft beers. They particularly serve styles for fall.
“I personally love dark beers like stouts and porters during fall,” said Rice. “I like them mainly for their roasty taste and because they go really well with this seasons pallet.”
The popularity of autumns’ seasonal beer flavors and styles continues to grow, much like the pumpkin spice craze. Different types of dark, spicy, and heavy beers come out getting more elaborate each year, Pound said.
Beers like imperial pumpkin stouts that contain a higher alcohol by volume or ABV, are very popular during fall. Not only because of the alcohol content but also, the heavy and spicy features that go right along with the season, Rice said.
For this fall season, forget the mug of apple cider or hot cocoa. Why not curl up next to the fireplace with a spiced and flavorful fall beer with a high ABV to help keep you warm?