Fall’s nature palette jibes well with the season’s beer palate, offering a range of earthy hues and flavors. Gone are summer’s fruit beers, and winter’s bone-warmers are yet to enrobe us. From the basics to the innovative flourishes, brewers have us all covered.
flickr: Chris Goldberg
Occidental Pilsner 4.8%
Even as craft pilsners are becoming hot among American breweries, this Bohemia-meets-Bavaria take boasts an uber clean, bready malt and an exquisite, if subdued, helping of Czech Saaz hops. The lack of showboating makes this homage a perfect pils. While it could pair with brats, don’t limit its applications.
Firestone Walker 805 4.7%
There’s a reason this blonde ale is ubiquitous around Southern California. It’s a workhorse for those seeking a refreshing and subtle beer that is neither sweet, like other American (or Belgian) blondes, nor as dry as German kolsches. It’s bereft of bitterness, and can be sipped from starters to salads to steaks.
Samuel Adams/Woods Beer Boston Tea Party Saison 7.4%
There should be more intermarrying of the world’s two most popular beverages: tea and beer. This one is actually brewed with yerba mate, so instead of delivering black tea or earl grey flavors, it delivers a witbier quality with hints of coriander and grains of paradise, but still intriguingly earthy. Great as a breakfast beer to wash down quiche.
Boulevard Tough Kitty 5.5%
Milk stouts tend to avoid the astringency of traditional stouts since they are quelled by a touch of milk sugar. This one’s a bit bitter, but still soft, and it presents ample notes of bittersweet chocolate, masticated espresso beans, and crème brûlée. Skip dessert and enjoy with pulled pork sandwiches or tacos.
Santa Monica Brew Works PCH 6%
While the style is described as a golden milk porter (such a style doesn’t actually exist), the name stands for Pale Chocolate Heaven, which now, thankfully, does exist. Chocolate pudding layered over ‘Nilla wafers but mercifully not a treacle debacle. Pour alongside grilled pork chops and bourbon-glazed apples.
Santa Monica Brew Works
Goodwood Walnut Brown 6%
Nuts are notoriously tough to brew with, but sometimes it’s just what a beer calls for. This brown ale welcomes the onset of autumn by being toffee-forward with brighter notes of soil and wood that merge into a nutty (think walnuts) finish. Ideal for stews and root salads.
Stone W00T Stout 13%
There’s a mélange of flavors in this imperial stout abetted by the bevy of non-traditional ingredients—primarily the pecans, which gives this an exceptionally rich and, yes, pecan-pie semblance. The wheat softens it up, while the bourbon-soaked wood chips round out any edges.
Deschutes Black Butte Porter 29th Birthday 12%
This beer celebrates iconic Black Butte Porter’s birthday yet tastes more like a present to us. It’s wrapped in cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne, with ribbons of bourbon and rum since half the batch is aged in barrels. The sweet and spicy complexity—with truly only a modicum of heat—keeps the party going from first pour to last sip.
Fall’s nature palette jibes well with the season’s beer palate, offering a range of earthy hues and flavors.