Fall craft beer preview
As we sit steadily in fall’s firm clutches, it is crucial that we turn our minds away from the wind and cold, and towards the beauty and brilliance that this stoic season has to offer. One such temporal indulgence can be found in the emerging selection of seasonal craft beers. Fall is a time when brewmasters nationwide like to experiment with unique and fitting flavour combinations. The beers get heavier, darker, and more flavourful, and begin to embody that brooding quality that emerges as the leaves change colours and fall.
Whether fall is your favourite season or your nemesis, you can always find respite in a glass of quality seasonal craft beer. To direct your palates, Juris Diction has put together a guide to a selection of the fall favourites currently available at The Alibi and The Brooklyn.
Beau’s – Night Märzen: 5.5%
Beau’s Night Märzen is an Oktoberfest Lager. Brewed with all organic ingredients, the Night Märzen is a wonderful embodiment of this traditional Oktoberfest beer. The amber colour sets the stage for the beautiful base of biscuity caramel malts, followed by a touch of hops on the back of the palate that ends in a clean finish. This brew is the perfect choice for those who want to investigate a beer that packs a lot of flavour, but doesn’t rely on a heavy hit of hops to deliver it.
The Märzen is named after the month of March, when it is traditionally brewed. It spends summers lagering in the cellars before being brought out for the Oktoberfest celebrations. This extended lagering process gives it a deeper and more complex flavour than other traditional lagers. For the complete German experience, Beau’s recommends pairing the Night Märzen with homemade pretzels and mustard.
Mill St. – Nightmare on Mill Street: 5%
Nightmare on Mill Street is a pumpkin ale brewed with real pumpkin and tons of spices. I know what you’re thinking, “Why should I keep trying all these ridiculous pumpkin drinks?” Well, Nightmare on Mill Street sets itself above other pumpkin-flavoured beers with its subtle, but, characteristic, hit of real pumpkin flavour, balanced with the spice and the hops. Consequently, it actually still tastes like beer and not some kind of weird pumpkin smoothie. The aroma alone is enough to send one back to their childhood seat at the kid’s table on Thanksgiving staring down a great big slice of pumpkin pie.
The pumpkin flavour provides the backbone upon which the notes of spice build. Cinnamon and nutmeg combine with the hops to provide a balanced complexity of flavours. The subtlety of the flavours and unobtrusiveness of the pumpkin make this beer a fall staple.
Collective Arts – Rhyme and Reason Extra Pale Ale: 5.7%
Collective Art’s Rhyme and Reason Extra Pale Ale is not a seasonal brew, but rather it is a great example of an American Style IPA, which are great beers to enjoy during the fall season. This IPA is dry hopped with Citra, Chinook, Centennial, and Simcoe hops to give strong notes of citrusy bitterness. The background malty sweetness balances the flavours and leaves a crisp finish.
This is a great brew for those who want to investigate a hoppier beer, but who don’t want a blast of hops like a punch in the face.
Sawdust City – Red Rocket Cayenne Stout: 5.5%
This beer is an intense and interesting experience. As Sawdust City’s website eloquently puts it,
You take a few cautious steps toward the Red Rocket. You are fixated on its beauty. The calm you felt from years of training slowly gives way to nervous excitement. You are being propelled by anticipation and raw courage. You know your next steps are into uncharted territory, into the unknown. You approach the Red Rocket. Your hand reaches out and you grab hold. A first cautious sip … then a swig … and liftoff! Welcome to the FUTURE!
How true this is. The coffee and cayenne hit your nose as you lift the glass to your mouth, and the aroma colours the rest of the experience. The cayenne strikes the back of your throat and lingers there between sips. The spiciness is just intense enough to open your eyes, but not so strong that they fill with tears. The beer has a smooth and milky texture, which contrasts nicely with the distinct and tingling sensation of the cayenne. A definite must-try for the adventurous beer drinkers.
Andy Gibbons (2L) is a Culture Editor of Juris Diction.
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