Say Hello To Fall With This Seasonal Six-Pack

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Today, the first day of fall, the hop-forward and citrusy brews of summer finally begin to give way to the spicier, maltier and higher-gravity beers of the harvest season. You know, the best kinds of beers.
 
 
 
Of course, just about everything now is pumpkin-this and Octoberfest-that, so we thought we’d help you pick up a sampling of autumn’s best bottles, from a traditional Maerzen to a stout that’ll stick to your ribs.

Not your average pumpkin beer: Pump[KY]n Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer
Unlike most pumpkin beers of the crowd-pleasing variety, Pump[KY]n isn’t for the faint of heart. Recently released by Avery Brewing, the pumpkin porter weighs in at a whopping 17.22 per cent ABV balanced out by a heavy dose of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Vanilla and char flavours are also in the mix thanks to six months spent aging in fresh bourbon barrels. Since it’s not very sessionable, make the bottle last an hour or two so you can taste the vastly different notes that crop up as the beer warms.

Something other than pumpkin: Autumn Pale Ale
Fresh apples of the Idared, Crispin, Gala, Macintosh and Stayman-Winesap varieties factor heavily into the Bronx Brewery’s Autumn Pale Ale, lending this craft beer a crisp flavour profile. Northern Brewer hops give it a mildly hoppy zip to the tune of 48 IBUs. All said, this is the perfect complement to a holiday dinner, with the 6.5 per cent ABV inevitably leading to some quality familial bonding. We should note that we’re ruling out family arguments because it tastes so damn good.

 
 

This will warm you up: Founders Breakfast Stout
Fall requires brews big on flavour. Enter Founders Brewing’s Breakfast Stout, an especially heavy imperial stout with an intense tasting profile to match. Available only for a few months out of the year, it’s brewed with flaked oats, both bitter and sweet imported chocolate, as well as Sumatra and Kona coffee. Alcohol content is fairly high at 8.3 per cent ABV, but that’s part of the charm—and it solidifies this stout’s position as one of the boldest beers in the world.

 
 

Easy drinking: Headless Man Amber Alt
If you just need something to enjoy while watching the leaves turn on your porch, try a Headless Man Amber Alt from Wisconsin’s Tyranena Brewing Company. Made in the Altbier style, it’s a smooth amber ale with a foundation of Perle, Liberty and Tettnanger hops supporting top notes of bread, biscuits and slight spiciness. A low IBU rating of 25 and an ABV of 5.25 per cent means you can enjoy a few before calling it a night.

 
 

The original: Ayinger Oktober Fest-Maerzen

Despite its name, we’re actually in the middle of this year’s famous fall festival slash German drinking holiday—Oktoberfest is celebrated from September 20 until October 4 in Munich. Brewed just for the occasion is a style of beers known as Maerzen, to which this brew from Ayinger belongs. Containing a higher-than-average 5.5 per cent ABV and malty notes of honey, the Oktober Fest-Maerzen is fairly dry from a long maturation process. The rules of enjoying it authentically? Find a stein, fill it up, drain it and repeat.
 
 

For dessert: Caramel Apple Spiced Ale
Blue Moon’s fall offering taps the sweeter side of the season with a spiced beer that features notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet malts that melt away with a subtle apple finish. The Caramel Apple Spiced Ale checks in at a 5.8 per cent ABV, great for capping off a heavy meal.

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