Is it time to notice beer labels that look like either a Halloween party or a Thanksgiving centerpiece? Indeed. Fall is here both outdoors and in stores, so in honor of National Drink Beer Day (Sept. 28), here are five seasonally appropriate selections born outside Western New York to taste over the coming months:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Cleveland, Ohio)
Nearly every brewery has an Oktoberfest-style selection. They all vary in their chosen ode to German recipes or how drinkable each is from a boot-shaped vessel. But just because the offering is ubiquitous doesn’t mean they’re all good. Rust Belt brethren Great Lakes offers a great one. Smooth and flavorful with its Munich malts — and boasting four World Beer Championship medals — it’s a sure bet throughout the season.
Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Brooklyn boasts a delicious Oktoberfest offering of its own. But for those who prefer their fall tastes to skew toward flavors born from gourd mash, the brewery also offers this pumpkin-forward favorite. Hearty enough to team with a holiday meal, but still reasonable enough (at 5 percent ABV) for those who like to drink their orange-hued beers by the sixer, Post Road presents a sensational seasonal opportunity.
Best Brown Ale
Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, Mich.)
Scenes of fall elicit visions of daytime campfires, ski vest-and-flannel fashion, or simply standing in a pile of leaves on a crisp afternoon. And if there’s a beer to add as accompaniment to these panoramas, it could be Bell’s Best Brown Ale. Dark and toasty with notes of caramel and cocoa, it matches the idyllic taste of the coming months. As a premiere brown ale, it teams well with the hearty stews and sausages of the season.
New Belgium Brewery (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Pumpkin-flavored beers are not often noted for being particularly refreshing. But with New Belgium’s cranberry and lemon grass-accented seasonal, this quenching taste is a reality. And it’s not without its cinnamon, nutmeg and patch-grown ingredients that will fill offerings of every brewery for the next few months. But with its medium body, manageable ABV (6 percent) and subtle berry tweak, it steps away from the crowd.
Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter
Red Hook Brewery (Seattle, Wash.)
Finally, if you’re looking for a beer that packs the subtle aromas of pumpkin and nutmeg within the dark beauty of a traditional porter, there’s this surprising selection from one of the blue-hairs of the craft beer revolution, Red Hook. The shock isn’t found in the abundance the fall flavors swimming in every serving. It’s how quickly they please and recede, leaving drinkers with a frothy porter (5.8 percent ABV) that would be enviable on its own.