Festive Fall Beers and Menu Pairings
It’s official: autumn has arrived. The temperatures are finally dropping; football and Halloween plans are in full swing, and all around town a variety of breweries are launching their fall beers and other seasonal beverages.
To celebrate this beautiful time of year, let’s take a look at some of these fall brews and what they can be paired with.
Four Peaks Brewing Company
Fall Special: Dive headfirst into the season with the Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter, a delicious and popular brew that features the flavors of fall’s most popular gourd. Also be sure to try their Single Tank Series Hoppy Pils, which Greg Ross of Four Peaks describes as a full-bodied pilsner with a balanced hop finish.
Pairs well with: The Pumpkin Porter goes well with braised salmon, gingerbread cookies and Asian chicken salad, and the Hoppy Pils is the perfect complement for spicy Asian and Buffalo chicken wings, or roasted red pepper spinach salad. FourPeaks.com
Fall Special: Brewer Dave Burkle says OHSO has planned a handful of pumpkin ales soon to be ripe for the picking, ranging from a Golden, Belgian, Wheat and Pumpkin Porter. The pumpkin-style ales are seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. “Brew dates are scheduled throughout September, so you can expect tap dates for these throughout October. Because we brew on the nano-scale, three kegs at a time, these beers may go quickly,” he says.
Pairs well with: Flour-less chocolate cake. OhsoBrewery.com
Scottsdale Beer Company
Fall Special: For a decedent treat after a cozy fall meal, try Scottsdale Beer Company’s Texas Tea Double Chocolate Imperial Stout, made with 11 pounds of raw, unsweetened cocoa nibs, along with chocolate and dark roasted malts, which Managing Partner Doug Ledger notes brings a rich chocolate, roasty flavor to the beer. “Even though it’s over 10 percent ABV, it has an incredibly smooth and creamy finish.” Their Old Maud Vanilla Porter is named after the trusty mule owned by Scottsdale founder Winfield Scott. It is made with a whole pound of real Madagascar vanilla beans and contains no extracts or flavor additives. The beer is medium bodied, with a mild vanilla nose and a sweet vanilla finish, balanced by a solid backbone of dark roasted and crystal malts.
Pairs well with: These rich, hearty brews easily stand alone, and can substitute for a traditional dessert. ScottsdaleBeerCompany.com
Fate Brewing Company
Fall Special: It’s a whole lot of treat and no tricks at Fate Brewing Company with their signature Candy Bar Milk Stout. “Each October we make a Candy Bar Milk Stout that has become quite well known throughout the local beer community,” notes Brewer Travis Pack. The milk stout is made with cacao nibs, vanilla beans, honey roasted peanuts and sea salt. “It received a silver medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival (R), and accumulates quite a bit of buzz and excitement each fall.”
Pairs well with: A fun-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Snickers bar, to really accentuate the chocolate and peanut notes. FateBrewing.com
North Mountain Brewing Company
Fall Special: North Mountain’s Barking Pumpkin Ale is nothing short of pure fall bliss, brewed with pumpkin pie spice, vanilla beans, fine Belgian chocolates and espresso coffee beans from Grinders Coffee Company. Their Serendipitous Dark Belgian, a dark, smooth Belgian ale with deep fruit and dark caramel colors; along with the N.I.B. Imperial Stout, which is brewed with real maple syrup and has a deep, dark and rich color from being aged in 32-year-old oak barrels adds a sweet note to their sumptuous seasonal selections. Then there’s the Happy Kraut Bier, which Candy Berkner-Frogozo describes as a Marzen-style lager with a rich maltiness that’s perfect for celebrating Oktoberfest, along with the Imperial Pilsner, which is made with all German malt. “The Imperial Pilsner has a hop bitterness that blends well with its higher alcohol content. It is dry hopped with Saaz, the quintessential Pilsner hop, to give it an extra hop presence in the nose,” Berkner-Frogozo says.
Pairs well with: Any of the brewing company’s “beer-centric cuisine” choices. The Happy Kraut Bier and Imperial Pilsner would complement any traditional Oktoberfest fare, such as brats and sauerkraut, pretzels or German baked goods. NorthMountainBrewing.com
Fall Special: Orange is certainly the color of the season, and Papago Brewing’s Orange Blossom certainly brings out the best of the staple fall shade. “Our Orange Blossom Special Beer is available year-round, but makes for a great fall beer here due to our warm weather,” says Ron Kloth from Papago Brewing. “It is a cool refreshing 5 percent ABV wheat beer seasoned with orange and vanilla, basically like a Creamsicle in a glass.”
Pairs well with: Lighter fall selections such as salmon and roasted vegetable salad, especially when enjoyed on an al-fresco patio. PapagoBrewing.com
Two Brothers Tap House and Brewery
Fall Special: At the center of all the fall tailgating parties is Two Brothers’ Atom Smasher, an oak-aged Oktoberfest-style lager, which co-owner Jason Ebel describes as a “hefty, full-bodied lager reminiscent of Marzen beers from days gone by.”
Pairs well with: Hearty spicy food, chicken, sausage, pork, almond biscotti and spice cake with pine nuts. TwoBrothersBrewing.com
Uncle Bear’s Brewery
Fall Special: Autumn on the West Coast means infusing those signature summertime fruit flavors with a deeper, heartier undertone to transition into the new season, which is exactly what Uncle Bear’s Brewery does with their Ocean Beach IPA, packed full of simcoe cascade and centennial hops. Deep, dank grapefruit tones layer with lighter notes of grass and citrus for a crisp, cool flavor reminiscent of a chilly fall day by the water.
Pairs well with: Their famous Herd’s Burger: ½ pound of sirloin beef cooked with diced onion on a flat top grill and topped with pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomatoes on a brioche bun. UncleBearsBrewery.com