Fall is almost here! The leaves are starting to change, the nights are getting cooler and pumpkin spice is in the air. Wait a minute, we live in Florida. What is fall? It is 100 degrees out, 95 degrees if we stand in the shade, and leaves don’t change colors! I don’t even want to think about pumpkin spice until it is November. How does one get in the fall mood when you are pumpkin beered out? It seems like every brewery has a pumpkin beer, which isn’t a bad thing. But what if that just isn’t your thing? Do we stop drinking seasonal offerings until winter is here? No way! We have many alternatives to help you out this season. Here are a few to get you started:
Cigar City Brewing Oktoberfest- German-style Festbier that is 5.2% ABV. Brewery tasting notes: “Rich aromas of bread, barley and a hint of caramel with light herbaceous hop aroma complimenting. A palate of complex malt character is balanced with racy carbonation and subtle bitterness.” This is a very easy drinking and refreshing flavorful beer. Available: August (Limited Release)
Founder’s Breakfast Stout- A double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout that leaves you wanting more. Brewery notes: “The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and two types of coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever.” Breakfast Stout is 8.3% ABV and is a favorite by many, if you haven’t tried this beer I highly recommend trying it. Available: September-December
Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ Ale- Available October-December and is a dangerous 9.9% ABV. You really want to be careful with this beer because of how easy it is to drink! Brewery notes: “We believe this special ale is something unique. Feeding brown cane sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is akin to feeding raw shark to your gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without human intervention. And it looks weird. But it’s happened and now it’s too late.”
Funky Buddha Sweet Potato Casserole- A strong ale that is 7.9% ABV and available August-November. Brewery notes: “Drop the dressing and ditch the pumpkin, Sweet Potato Casserole is fresh out of the oven and ready to party. This fall treat is just like moms used to make – only if moms had penchant for gooey marshmallow, fall spices, and gobs of sweet potato cavorting in one sinful glass. Bottoms up.” Not pumpkin and definitely will get you feeling ready for Thanksgiving!
Weihenstephaner Oktoberfestbier- A great German Festbier and is 5.8% ABV. Brewery notes: “A full rich bodied, hoppy, seasonal lager. Especially brewed for the Festbier season. This beer truly represents the Bavarian way of celebrating. Deep gold color, great mouth-feel and lots of flavor. Prost!” If this beer doesn’t get you in the fall spirit I don’t what will! Best enjoyed with football.
Now you should have a good start to your fall season and don’t have to go pumpkin if you don’t want to, there are many options for you! And as always, enjoy responsibly.
Heather Rogers, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Beer Consultant – Tampa