Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress. Just as we get used to catching a little extra Vitamin D during the day, she casts a cold, gray spell over us, leaving the lasses to cover up with big, bulky sweaters and forcing us to retreat indoors.
But she doesn’t take without giving. All those layers of clothing heighten the anticipation of their removal as the lighter, crisper beers of summer have given way to brews with high concentrations of malt, spice and alcohol. These six beers will warm up any fall evening, but most are as fleeting as the fall colors. So grab them while you can still find them on shelves and before winter counterparts take their place.
Why it works: Schlafly Beer's This 8% copper colored American Ale has everything a fall liquor lover looks for in a craft beer. Its bold pumpkin squash base couples incredibly well with the nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. It’s like an alcoholic pumpkin pie!
Try it with: Chocolate, blackberries and beef stew
Why it works: We’re not big on the pumpkin beers that crop up this time of year, but Dogfish's big Brown Ale backbone stands up well to the traces of allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Try it with: Roasted turkey, duck or lamb; pumpkin pie (duh)
Why it works: Bruery's label proclaims “We don’t need pumpkins in our beer!” And thanks to 17 pounds of sweet, candied yams per barrel, this Thanksgiving brew (with hints of maple and vanilla) weighs in at a boastful 10 percent ABV.
Try it with: Anything mom puts out for the Thanksgiving spread from the bird to dessert (especially pecan pie)
Why it works: Fans of the “wicked weed” rejoice as the season’s harvest results in Three Floyds' heavy dose of fresh-from-the-vine American hops. We couldn’t confirm if hop’s cousin (cannabis) plays a part in the trippy label.
Try it with: Wild mushroom risotto or butternut squash soup
Why it works: We’re not alone in thinking this might be the best lager around; Full Sail took home the gold at this year’s Great American Beer Fest. Lucky for us, it’s available year-round.
Try it with: Brats (boiled in Session Black, of course). BBQ chicken, ribs and king crab cakes are also winners.
Why it works: Your love affair with the blondes lasted all summer. With autumn upon us, say hello to Sam Adams' brunette cousin from the Old Country—the perfect sweetie to warm you on those long, dark nights.
Try it with: Sweet 'n spicy sausages and any banana-based dessert