Now that it is officially Fall, you may go ahead and buy that Pumpkin beer that has been sitting on the shelf since August. Not sure I'd recommend one of those, however, as it has been sitting on the shelf since August. I realize breweries release seasonal beer earlier and earlier as a means of getting out in front of the competition, but it kinda kills the purpose of 'seasonal' when your offering is not actually in season. Anyway, the Fall season does offer a lot of variety when it comes to beer from October Fest lagers to Pumpkin porters. Here is a local Philadelphia brewed beer tasting I'd recommend seeking out this Halloween to get into the mood of the season while actually IN the season. The beers are in order from lightest to darkest, as any good flight ought to be.
1. Love City Sure Shot Any good fall tasting list should start with the venerable kolsch. Kolsch is a light bodied, crisp and refreshing style of beer that is perfect for the early days of fall and Oktoberfest celebrations. The Love City Sure Shot is as good a derivative of this style as any, but it also drier and a little less sweet than most. An easy drinking beer. Plus, Love City has a great tasting room.
2. Troegs Hop Knife The smooth pouring Troegs Hop Knife pilsner is a steep departure from the kolsch. Hopped like an IPA but medium bodied, Hop Knife is an underrated seasonal representative of the tradition of hand harvested hops at peak maturity. Tropical fruit flavors cut with a balance of piney hops.
3. Sly Fox Oktoberfest Heading up to Phoenixville for our next beer, Sly Fox's great Oktoberfest beer. This is a perfect rendition of this German Marzen varietal, light bodied, malty and slightly cinnamon spiced. Slightly bitter aftertaste rounds it off well.
4. Victory Festbier Victory's take on an Oktoberfest is fuller bodied than most with a pleasing, toasted spice finish. Victory is an area stalwart, always producing quality brews. I would recommend most of their varietals.
5. Conshohocken Brewing Blood Money Conshohocken Brewing is a brewery that is just hitting its stride. This seasonal blood orange IPA is a well-balanced varietal that doesn't over do it on the citrus flavors that other orange based beers tend to do. Refreshing for a Fall Sunday afternoon.
6. Double Nickel Below Zero Ale At 7.8%, we start to ramp up the potency of this tasting. This is Double Nickel's winter warmer, meant to warm you with it's blend of caramel and spices and higher alcohol flavor. Similar to a scotch ale but medium bodied.
7. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale This is the one you want. Of all the options of pumpkin spice varietal ales, Weyerbacher's stands over them all. Like drinking pumpkin pie in a glass, Imperial Pumpkin Ale is full bodied and warm, with myriad spices and a smooth, toasty finish. Good luck finding anymore of it.
8. Eight and Sand 'Mallow Joe Finally, drown yourself in a campfire roasted marshmallow. 'Mallow Joe is a traditional full bodied stout with rich chocolate and coffee flavors finished with a smoky marshmallow sweetness. Eight and Sand is doing great things in South Jersey.