What comes to mind when you think of fall beverages? A libation that’s comforting and complex with spices and toasty notes, that’s refreshing but also wholesome and deep? Well, while you’re picturing warm ciders and mulled wines, we’ve got a suggestion for you. How about a drink that’s one of the oldest recorded in human history — one that’s said to be partly responsible for the development of civilization. That complex enough for you?
While some may consider beer something watery that tastes faintly like a penny — something Dad used to down in great quantities in front of the game — we’re intrigued by the craft beer movement that’s taken over the industry, and the many small breweries that are making something wholly different from your daddy’s beer, some of which is just perfect for autumn. We recently visited our neighborhood storefront and tasting room that specializes in all things craft beer, Sunset Beer Co. in trendy Echo Park, Calif., to find the perfect beers to sip as the leaves turn orange and the weather gets chilly. OK, fine; we’re not judging — you can also down them in front of the game. We’re looking at you, Dad.
Here are some of our favorites:
Scythe & Sickle from Ommegang
This limited-edition ale is Ommegang’s “foray into honoring the harvest season,” and the hearty, crisp flavor is a perfect nod to autumn. To be completely fair, and to their credit, we’ve never had a beer from the Ommegang gang that we didn’t like, but the slight sweetness, darkness without being heavy and satisfying finish make Scythe & Sickle our favorite yet from this award-winning brewery.
Bonus: For all you Game of Thrones nerds, Ommegang is partnering with HBO to create a series of beers inspired by the TV series. House Alie & Georgia doth approve.
Pumpkin Lager by Lakefront Brewery
We’ve always believed that discovering a beer that both beer drinkers and beer shunners alike could enjoy is like finding the Holy Grail, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster all crammed into one pint glass and delivered to you by a Martian. Then we took a sip of this seasonal pumpkin lager and we were changed forever. The flavor is authentic, as it’s brewed with real pumpkin and spices, so you get woodsy, oaky, autumnal notes with a finish of nutty sweetness. Although great sipped on its own, we have a feeling that this lager would make for a killer secret cocktail ingredient. Pumpkin beer milkshakes, anyone?
Bonus: “Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager is the only pumpkin lager available in the world; all other pumpkin beers are ales” — from Lakefront’s website. We always love a nice bit of trivia to share while sipping.
Black IPA by Ruhstaller
Made using California-grown hops and barley, Ruhstaller is an old-school brewery that takes care and pride in every step of the brewing process. Their CAPT California Black IPA is like a regular IPA’s evil twin — hearty and bold, but with a smooth body that so expertly showcases the brewery’s craftsmanship.
Bonus: Captain Frank Ruhstaller, founder of The Ruhstaller Brewery, started crafting beer 15 years before the founding of Anchor Steam. Take that, California brewing history!