The Ultimate Fall Beer Guide

Blair Pfander

the beer chicks1 The Ultimate Fall Beer GuidePut down the cocktail and step away from the sangria pitcher. Fall has arrived, which can only mean one thing (besides a sudden spike in our apple pie intake): beer.
Between the crispy weather and Oktoberfest seasonal editions, fall is the perfect time to try a new brew or two.
With two books (including the forthcoming Naked Brewer: Fearless Homebrewing, Tips, Tricks & Rule-breaking Recipes, due this October), Hallie Beaune and Christina Perozzi—better known at The Beer Chicks—are all-around experts when it comes to choosing craft beers. Here, the chicks spill their top seven autumnal sips.
Anchor Christmas—Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco, California. There are many secrets in this beer. Each recipe changes from year to year, and that recipe is kept under lock and key. But each year the brew offers notes of cinnamon, licorice, chocolate, pine and dark fruit. The label also sports a different beautiful tree each year.
Autumn Maple—The Bruery, Placentia, California. This decadent fall brew is made with yams instead of pumpkin—17 pounds per barrel, to be exact. They throw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean, allspice, molasses and maple syrup—the whole holiday package! The beer has a sweet maltiness and a great spice character. They use a Belgian yeast that adds a great complexity.
Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale—Dogfish Head, Milton, Delaware. A brown ale brewed with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and a variety of spices. This is a pumpkin beer you can count on, not too sweet, nice balance and pumpkin notes. You have to have the obligatory pumpkin ale in the fall, and this is a great choice.
Great Lakes Oktoberfest—Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland, Ohio. Another obligatory style to have in the fall is the great Oktoberfest brew. Great Lakes makes an award-winning amber lager in the Oktoberfest style. It’s light-bodied and nutty with notes of bread and balancing noble hops.
Jubelale—Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon. Like the Anchor Christmas Ale, the label for this beer changes every year. The folks at Deschutes use a local artist to create a new label each fall. This is a nicely balanced beer with a good dose of malty sweetness and six different types of hops. There are notes of chicory, earth and holiday spice with some dark fruit nuances.
Celebration Ale—Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, California. This IPA-style is dry-hopped, bringing out the piney notes in the hops that go perfectly with the smells of pine trees in the fall season. There are also rich malty notes with hints of caramel and complex herbaceous notes of mint and grapefruit and bread. A bold biting beer for fall and winter!
Scaldis Noel—Brasserie Dubuisson, Pipaix, Belgium. With its beautiful bottle complete with a blue foil wrapped neck, this is a great beer to pull out at the end of an evening and share with friends by the fire. It packs a strong punch at 12%, definitely a sipper. Super complex notes of dried figs and raisins, clove and caramel and a touch of earth. It will keep you warm on a cold night!
Beer aficionado? Share your favorite craft beers in the comments!