From pumpkin and nutmeg to caramel and cocoa, our favorite autumn craft brews lean toward harvest flavors we associate with falling leaves, spooky stories, and comfort foods – the sort you get when you skulk incognito and extort treats from your neighbors.
In fact, out here on the Beer Frontier, after we’ve treated the little ones, we like to startle grownup ghouls with a throaty “Broo!” and offer them one of our picks listed below. All of these are easy to enjoy and very drinkable, and they’re great choices for the after-party, too, when the superheroes and princesses are abed and the witching hour draws nigh.
New Holland Ichabod
Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a deliciously bewitching brew.
Ichabod is excellent with roasted poultry and root vegetables, but it’s so drinkable, you’ll find yourself enjoying it right through dessert. We recommend anything featuring pumpkin: cookies, bread, muffins, cheesecake, or pie.
This spiced amber ale is Arcadia’s celebration of the arrival of autumn. Brewed with cinnamon, all-spice, and nutmeg (a riff on a family pumpkin pie recipe), and caramel and crystal malt for balanced flavor, Jaw-Jacker is refreshingly spicy and drinkable. And despite the absence of pumpkin in the recipe, it pours a brilliant orange-amber color, making it as fitting for your fall table as your palate.
Try Jaw-Jacker with braised brisket, roast duck, or roast turkey, and root vegetables. For dessert: pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie with vanilla bean ice cream.
Bell’s Best Brown
A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown is a mainstay in Bell’s fall lineup. With hints of caramel and cocoa, generous amounts of American hops yield a malt body that has the depth to stand up to cool weather but doesn’t come across as heavy.
Try Best Brown with chili, smoked gouda, stuffed mushrooms, or butternut squash soup. For dessert, we like s’mores. And for snacking, we reach for chocolate covered peanuts.
Rochester Mills Oktoberfest Celebration Lager
A malty, German-style lager with low to moderate hop bitterness (from Magnum and Hallertau hops) featuring a medium body and brilliant orange-ish amber color. Rich and malty, yet easy drinking and incredibly delicious, Oktoberfest finishes a little spicy and dry.
Try Oktoberfest with Mexican and other hearty dishes like spicy chicken, sausage and pork (think brats and sauerkraut). It also goes well with Swiss Emmental, Swiss Gruyère, and Jalapeño Jack cheeses.