Beat the summer blues with our autumn brew review. 

Summer is ending, and I hope everyone was able to make the best of the warm weather and a certain columnist’s beer recommendations for the vacation season — if you were unable to do either, here’s a chance to reboot with some tasty fall beers!

Fall is the time to say goodbye to all the fruity wheat beers and lighter fare that have crossed our parched mouths over the hot summer months, but it is also the time we welcome back beloved Oktoberfest lagers, heartier malted ales, bigger, darker stouts and porters, seasonal sours, and yes, the highly anticipated and equally cringeworthy pumpkin spice beers.*

There is a time and a season for everything, and thankfully there is also a beer for every time and every season, so let’s fall into some great beers, shall we?

*I’ll be saving my pumpkin reviews for later on in the season.

Cape May Brewing Company Mop Water
Cape May, New Jersey

  • Herbaceous notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, caramel, allspice & ton of whole bean vanilla
  • Crisp, light/medium bodied, amber-brown ale with various spice aromas and flavors
  • ABV 7.3% (alcohol by volume)
  • IBU 25 (International bittering units. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the more bitter the beer.)

This beer came about after Cape May Brewing Company’s Chief Mop man requested an autumnal beer with a sh#tload* of vanilla and other fall spices.  Thank GOD they listened, as this somewhat local beer is perfect for enjoying the cooler fall weather.  Try it with some roasted pork with fresh applesauce, or serve it alongside a nice rich dessert like apple pie or bread pudding, but as the Mop man says, “Don’t over think it- just drink it!”

*Their words not mine, this is a family friendly publication, LOL!

  

Bear Republic Racer X
Healdsburg, California

  • Hints of citrus and pine with aromatic notes of biscuit and nectarine
  • Smooth, copper colored, double/Imperial IPA, with an extremely balanced malt backbone
  • ABV 8.3%
  • IBU 100

This beer is like my love of the original 60’s Japanimation classic Speed Racer, aka Mach Go Go Go….HUGE!

*NERD ALERT- It’s named after Speed’s rival racer/partner, Racer X, who just happens to secretly be his long-lost, thought to be deceased, brother!

The floral, citrus, & piney notes perfectly blend with the rich biscuit malts to make this 100 IBU, west coast double IPA extremely balanced and drinkable!  Try this badboy with some spicy buffalo wings or some belly-busting BBQ and you’ll be in heaven!  It also pairs great with sharper, aged cheeses like a smoked gouda or an English cheddar.  So, stop monkeying around Chim Chim and imbibe!

 

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest (2017)
Chico, California

  • Aromas of green apple, caramel, bread, and honey with hints of star anise and grassy, light spice hops
  • Refreshing, medium-bodied, golden/amber, Märzen/Oktoberfest Lager
  • ABV 6.1%
  • IBU 30

Every year Sierra Nevada collaborates with a different German brewery to explore classic styles of Oktoberfest beers & come up with another seasonal Oktoberfest offering of their own.  This year Sierra collaborated with Brauhaus Miltenberger, and as per usual it’s delicious!  This year’s deceptively rich lager is perfectly balanced with traditional German-grown whole cone hops.  Pair this classically crafted brew with hard Bavarian-style pretzels, the classic Philly soft pretzel, or mild cheddar for a snack.  This awesome seasonal pairs well with pork, especially any kind of German, wurst-style sausage, grill some up at an E-A-G-L-E-S tailgate with this beer and prepare to be in Fall Heaven!

 

Great Lakes Nosferatu
Cleveland, Ohio

  • Earthy aromas, with hints of toffee, cocoa, & caramel balanced with bitter pine/citrus notes
  • Balanced, medium-bodied, dark red/copper, Imperial Red Ale with a hoppy BITE!
  • ABV 8%
  • IBU 70

 This hoppy, imperial red ale is surprisingly well balanced and can sneak up on you just like its namesake!  This great craft pours a devilish blood red, which makes it great for your next Halloween themed, beer-driven soiree or as a great gift for Cure/ Type O Negative/Nine Inch Nails listening Goth friends…..you know the ones who wear black ALL YEAR and still own & regularly use Ouija boards.   This one pairs great with red meat, like a steak…cooked rare of course, and for our vegan vamps out there, pair it with some delicious roasted root vegetables like roasted beets, parsnips, or a parsley root or butternut squash soup!

Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Red Ale
Evergem, Belgium

  • Cherry and stone fruit aromas with acidic hints of cherry, apple, almond and molasses
  • Refreshingly tart, acidic, brownish red, light/medium bodied, Belgian Flanders Oud Bruin sour beer
  • ABV 5.5%
  • IBU 10

This sour is one of my favorites, and although it is brewed in Belgium by the Van Steenberge brewery it’s sort of local due to local hero and beer pioneer Tom Peters.  Tom who own’s Monk’s Café, the best Belgian Beer Café in America, and located right here in Philly, convinced the Belgian brewery to bottle its ‘BIOS – Vlaamse Bourgogne’ under private label for him.  The rest is history!!!  This beautifully crafted sour is aged in oak and has been being brewed for over 300 years!!!!  This beer is extremely versatile and can be paired with Chinese food, spicy Mexican fare, and even salads.  I highly suggest you go to Monk’s and try it alongside their beautifully executed charcuterie/ cheese board, some of their amazing mussels, and their famous frites!

So, my fellow Fallsers, go forth and bask in the autumnal amazingness, along with some well-deserved libations!

Here’s to cheers and plenty of beers,

JK

ABOUT JON

Beer tips and food pairings from Jonathan Kennedy, a badass foodie who eats pigs whole and has forgotten more than we’ll ever know about enjoying beer.