Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Seasonal brews and bottles

By Adria Kelly

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Sam Adams' Oktoberfest, a seasonal fall brew (Alex Mojcher/Collegian File Photo).

Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest, a seasonal fall brew (Alex Mojcher/Collegian File Photo).


To a beer lover, the shifting of seasons isn’t about the leaves changing color or getting back to classes. It’s about the seasonal brew selection.

While the summer is full of fruity notes and light tones, fall focuses on herbal flavors with more intensity and depth than a summer ale. There are a few labels that you should keep a lookout for this year.

First come the pumpkin ales, with two standouts this season. The Elysian Brewing Company of Seattle is releasing The Great Pumpkin Ale (ABV 8.1%). With a deep copper color and medium body, this brew has actual pumpkin seeds in it, giving it a pumpkin flavor as authentic as it gets. It has a sweet initial flavor with a spicy aftertaste.

Another pumpkin ale to look out for is Weyerbachers’ Imperial Pumpkin Ale (ABV 8%). Brewed in Pennsylvania, this beer has a hearty and spicy caramel flavor. Although the initial taste may be sweet, it’s not cloying, and the Imperial is lighter than typical pumpkin brews.

Also from Weyerbacher comes its Autumn Fest Ale (ABV 5.4%.) With a nice full mouth feel and a delicious roasted malt flavor, this is the perfect brew to indulge in from August until November. Vienna and Munich malts are used to create the velvety and slightly fruity flavor.

Next comes an amber ale from Maryland. Brewed by Heavy Seas, Marzen (ABV 5.25%) is available all year round, but is best consumed during the fall due to the aging process. The main flavor profiles of this beer, slightly sweet with a toasted, biscuity flavor, develop more depth with time.

For a fresh hoppy flavor, Founders Brewing Company is coming out with its Harvest Ale (ABV 6.5%). With a hazy orange coloring, this ale has a sweet, herbal hops flavor with a hint of citrus and a light grass note. There is also a toasted malt undertone in the finish. With all of its flavor layering, this is a great and interesting ale to drink in the fall.

For a classic, Samuel Adams’ Oktoberfest (ABV 5.3%) is a great blend of malts—five, to be exact. The malt layers create a deep flavor profile with hints of caramel and toffee. There is also a bitterness, which comes from Bavarian Noble hops.

For people that lean toward a lighter brew, Three Floyds’ Broodoo (ABV 7%) is an Indian Pale Ale sub style of a wet hop ale. It has a toasty, nutty malt backbone that coats the palate. There are big hints of tropical fruit and pinesap in the aftertaste.

Two unexpected drinks for the fall include a hard cider and a breakfast stout.

Angry Orchard has an apple ginger flavor for its hard cider (ABV 5%) that is brilliantly light with a surprising depth. The ginger is not overpowering but present and gives the refreshing cider a tart tinge. On a completely different end of the brew spectrum is the breakfast stout, brewed by Founders (ABV 8.3%). Made with Kona and Sumatra beans, dark chocolate and oats, this stout is perfect with breakfast or even as a dessert due to its smooth, roasted flavor. It is a heavier and more unique option.

These are just a few of the different options for the upcoming fall brew season. While there are classics like the Oktoberfest, many breweries are branching out into new flavor profiles. Make sure to try an unfamiliar six-pack this fall because there are many delicious choices out there.

Adria Kelly can be reached at [email protected]

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