Three popular autumn beers, only available from about September through mid-November, are Oktoberfest, pumpkin ales, and harvest ales. These seasonal brews are typically amber or dark – tasting of fall's warm and spicy flavors – and have a higher alcohol content than summer ales.
Autumn's beers exude pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee, and squash flavors. They also usually have a good strong body and complex flavor profiles.
Harvest Ales will have the most variety of flavor from brewer to brewer because craft brewers add local and seasonal flavors to their signature beers.
Beers for fall are usually drunk warmer than summer beers – never ice cold.
In addition to the seasonal brews, oatmeal stouts, Doppelbocks, or amber ales are great fall beers as well.
When trying to decide if a beer is appropriate for fall, simply look at its color. Amber-colored brews are ideal for autumn, darker beer for winter, and yellow or light-colored beers are good for spring and summer.
Oktoberfest: This beer pairs well with Mexican or spicy foods. Any hearty spicy chicken, sausage or pork dish such as a stew or spicy enchiladas are the perfect accompaniment for an Oktoberfest. Serve this beer between 45 and 50 degrees F.
Pumpkin ales: These beers pair well with autumn squash dishes. Acorn, butternut or spaghetti squash casseroles or stews mixed with other root vegetables, such as turnips and zucchini also work well with pumpkin ales. Pumpkin dishes (yes, even pumpkin pie) taste great washed down with a nice pumpkin ale. This beer should also be served between 45 and 50 degrees F.
Harvest ales: Think of cinnamon, spice, and everything nice for this beer. Warm spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom and nuts are good background notes that pair well with harvest ales. Macaroni and cheese, gratins and braised vegetables also work deliciously well with harvest ales.
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