Can you feel it? A slight nip in the air? A brisk breeze? The leaves shifting from green to faint orange and yellow? Nah, me neither. But the fact that we’re still sitting squarely in the thick of summer doesn’t stop breweries from releasing their fall beers. And the fact that it’s still 86 degrees outside isn’t going to stop me from drinking them. So we found a six pack of fresh fall beers for your exploration. On the whole, fall beers tend to land on the malty side of things: Marzen lagers and pumpkin ales and such, but we’ve got a little bit of everything in this batch, from the standard pumpkin to a fresh pale. Bring on the changing leaves, and that nip in the air, already.
Let’s start this list off with something traditional—a Marzen lager that’s full of biscuit notes up front followed by a subtle, toasty sweetness. The hops swoop in to finish the whole thing off with a dry, crisp edge. If you were in Germany, and it was fall, this is pretty damn close to what you’d be drinking. Look for it throughout Left Hand’s massive distribution footprint (37 states and counting) starting right about…now. In six pack bottles; 6.6% ABV.
Firestone Walker took a year off from producing this fall seasonal, also a Marzen, but it’s back and this year, it’s better. Because it’s packaged in big boy, 16-ounce cans. And that’s better. FW sourced all of the ingredients from Germany (Vienna and Pilsner malts and Hallertau hops), and the result is straight up tradition: malty goodness and hop spice. It’s even a little bit orange in color. You know, like the fall leaves. Unless you get to spend a lot of time in Firestone Walker’s taproom, you’ve probably never seen this beer before. It’s only been packaged and distributed once in the past. No telling if they’ll do it again after this year, so jump on the beer while you can.
Now things are getting a little weird. First: great name. Well done, Unknown. Ditto on that label, too. Second: a Gose? For a fall release? Bold. And not just any Gose—one that’s brewed with fresh key limes, then aged for three months in Nicaraguan rum barrels. Unknown admits that this isn’t so much a “fall” beer as it is a “say goodbye to summer” beer. I don’t care how you label it, I want me some. Look for it out now in 16-ounce cans.
This new fall release from Virginia’s Starr Hill smells straight up like your mom’s pancakes, but the sip isn’t nearly as sweet (thank God). The brown ale has a rich, almost slick mouthfeel that delivers just a hint of maple syrup, stopping well short of being cloying. I dig the restraint. It’s 6.1%. Look for it in six packs of bottles, or in Starr Hill’s new fall variety pack, along with another new fall release, a Helles lager. Also, can we get #yourmomspancakes trending?
I know you’ve been waiting patiently for some pumpkin to make it in this list, so here it is: a big ass, boozy pumpkin ale that’s loaded with two different kinds of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice…everything your grandmother put into her pumpkin pie. While some breweries dance around the pumpkin for their fall releases, merely hinting at it, Dry Dock goes all in. It’s boozy too, at 9% ABV. Look for it in 22-ounce bombers, probably sitting in your favorite beer nerd/hoarder’s cellar. Maybe he’ll take interesting trades? Like a batch of #yourmomspancakes?
The name is a bit of a mouthful, but you gotta love the sentiment. Seattle’s Fremont Brewing plans to brew this fresh hop pale throughout the entire hop harvest in Yakima Valley, using four individual hop varieties as they ripen and are pulled from the vine. This first beer is loaded with Centennial hops, and will be released during the first week of September, when the beer is at its freshest. Subsequent pales will feature Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic down the road. The project will let beer lovers see how each hop strain impacts a single beer, when the hops are at their most fresh.