These are a few of my Favorite (Fall) Beers (Excluding Pumpkin Beer)
We know autumn is upon us here in Vail when the Aspens begin to change color and the weather begins to cool. I think that that fall is a great time for beer (as if there ever is a bad time). Not only is it a great time to enjoy a nice beer during the beautiful days, but it is also a great time for seasonal beer options. Lately pumpkin beer has gotten a lot of the attention when it comes to fall favorites. I will report our favorite pumpkin beers in a future post. However, autumn is not only pumpkin season. There are some great other options, and they are all in the store in full force.
Oktoberfest is an obvious choice for this time of year. Brewed specifically to be consumed during this time, there are a wide variety of options at the store that you can enjoy. A traditional German Oktoberfest is always a good option. Germans have been brewing Oktoberfest style beer for a long time and they know what they are doing. These beers are nice and roasty and display the flavor of the season really nicely. They are both rich and refreshing at the same time. I think the two standouts for German Oktoberfest this year are Ayinger’s Oktoberfest and Weihenstephaner’s Fest Bier. I could drink these all day and not get sick of them. Don’t sleep on craft beer for some great Oktoberfest. You could try a traditional style like Odell Brewing’s Oktoberfest, Bonfire’s Gyptoberfest or Doctober from Dry Dock. You can also perhaps try a nice twist on the style, like Avery’s Kaiser which features a much heartier flavor and over 10% Alcohol by Volume!
Sometimes you don’t have to be traditional. Some of my favorite fall beers are not specifically brewed for this time of year, but are simply great to compliment the season. When the weather starts to get cold I start to turn to imperial stouts, barley wines, and other big beers to sip on. A recent addition to the beer department is JW Lees Harvest Ale from the 2001 vintage (over 15 years old!). It is incredibly delicious and complex and is very satisfying as a slow sipper. When it comes to big roasted imperial stouts my favorite may be Big Bad Baptist from Epic Brewing featuring a different coffee in every batch. Finally, I can’t go through an off season waiting for the slopes to open without a Bruery Autumn Maple, ale brewed with yam and spices. I have always commented that this beer is fall in a bottle, try it and you will know what I mean!
So remember, there are more beers for this season than just pumpkin beer, as delicious as they might be. Drink what you like for every season and please stop by the store and try some tasty offerings to get you through the upcoming off season.
Dean Lorusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart