The roasted meats and seasonal root vegetables that traditionally cover fall tables are best enjoyed with beers that are also tied to the season. Pilsners and other summertime lagers are replaced with maltier, richer and more complex brews as the days get shorter. And while pumpkin ales are popular this time of year, several other beer styles complement the foods of the season just as well.
A few of our local beer experts have shared some suggestions for what to pour during this autumn.
Magnolia’s Deep Elum Dubbel: Magnolia Brewpub will release this Belgian dubbel on November 1 as part of the Belgian Beer Month event they co-host with 21st Amendment. Dave McLean, Magnolia Owner and brewmaster, says, “I love that beer with food, especially fall food. It's got the complexity of a Belgian fermentation along with really deep malt character. A lot of darker Belgian style beers could also be served with seasonal food. Flemish reds and browns jump to mind in the way they bring a deep but balanced sour component to the profile.”
Ommegang’s Scythe and Sickle Harvest Ale: Beth Wathen, co-owner City Beer Store, offers this seasonal suggestion: “This is the first of this particular style for Ommegang. The bronze ale combines barley, wheat, oats and rye with a light hop treatment to help bring the farm flavor home.” Note that Scythe & Sickle Harvest Ale is a limited release beer and at 5.8 ABV you’ll want to enjoy it this autumn while it’s still fresh.
21st Amendment’s Pumpkin Schmunkin': Of course, no fall season would be complete without a pumpkin ale, and 21st Amendment delivers with Pumpkin Shmunkin’. This annual pub-only release is expected to be available till Thanksgiving. 21A co-owner Shawn O’Sullivan explained, “Although we have brewed with pumpkins before, I think we hit the ball out of the park on this one. We brewed it with these great organic heirloom pumpkins called ‘Winter Luxury’ from the Crystal Bay Farm in Santa Cruz: Super sweet cooking pumpkins that we roasted and added to the mash along with toasted pumpkin seeds. We then added spices to the fermenter. It has a soft spice profile, a tad hoppier than other pumpkin beers, which I find to be little sweet. It comes in at a respectable 7.1% ABV.”
The Bruery’s Autumn Maple: Rich Higgins, Consultant à la Bière, will be including this fall seasonal ale as part of his “From Ales to Fromage” event series. Rich noted, “The Bruery, from Orange County, prefers yams to pumpkins, and brews Autumn Maple with maple syrup, molasses, and cinnamon for an earthy beer that’s warming and sweet.”
Napa Smith’s Crush: Rich also suggested this beer, which he described as “an Oktoberfest amber lager with grapes in it, bringing an easy-drinking beer to the close of the grape harvest season, and imbuing the brew with a little vinis vinifera to inspire some great winemaking.”