Craft On Tap: Autumn 2014’s “Ultimate Autumn Six-Pack”
Whether you like it or not, Autumn is here once again. While it may be a few more weeks before the leaves change colors and the air grows colder, if you visit your local beer store you’ll probably notice that the pumpkin beers are already starting to take up some prime real estate in the coolers and on a few tap walls as well. While I’m more of a fan of sunshine, flip-flops and nice biking weather, Autumn usually heralds the arrival of some of my favorite beers. In addition, being somewhat spoiled by living in Denver, one of America’s biggest beer cities, Autumn also brings the Great American Beer Festival (aka my personal “SuperBowl”). So it’s usually this time of year that my love for beer becomes somewhat annoying to my non-beer drinking friends as I gush about various breweries, beers, and tap takeovers leading up to the event.
I decided that since Autumn is once again upon us, that it’s time to do another Craft on Tap entry (apologies for not doing one for Spring/Summer, I was dealing with job things). I didn’t really get any correspondents this time around but maybe I’ll have a few for my Winter installment. To make this entry interesting I’ve added a new rule to this series: Your picks cannot be repeated if they showed up on a previous year’s picks that you have made. This keeps it fresh and more challenging. Here’s last year’s picks. So call this “Ultimate Autumn Six-Pack Vol. II” if you will. If you need a refresher here’s the other rules for this series:
- The beers have been tasted (there’s so much beer, so little time/body limitations to try them all…plus it’d be bullshit to rattle off beers that haven’t been tried first). So in other words “duh!”
- The beers can be found in stores (there’s plenty of breweries that are “on-tap only” that I’m fiercely loyal to, but unless you live near us, this list won’t help you out much, plus it isn’t designed to provoke a “I have better places to drink than you” pissing contest), so these can hopefully be found in your local stores as well.
- The beer is distributed to Colorado. That’s where I’m located currently. This stipulation also obviously mirrors stipulation number 1. There’s plenty that I tried at the Great American Beer Festival and wish that came this way (I’m looking at you 3 Floyds, Sun King, Cigar City, Jester King, Heavy Seas and Brooklyn Brewery!!) Needless to say, I’m sure there are possibly some blasphemous omissions from the following lists, but there’s also a very good chance that it hasn’t been tried or made available out here. Plus you can sound off below in the comments!
Without further adieu, here’s my picks for Autumn 2014
Southern Tier’s Pumking- I’m thrilled that we finally started getting this beer in from Southern Tier Brewing here in Denver. This imperial pumpkin ale rings in at 8.5%abv, has a nice orange pumpkin color, a fantastic pumpkin spice aroma and a nice malty finish. I really hope some bottles stick around for October and thanksgiving, because I bet this tastes glorious with pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie. They also have a pumpkin porter that’s apparently just as good that I’m itching to try.
Epic’s Fermentation Without Representation Pumpkin Porter– A little over a year ago, Epic Brewing moved to greener pastures from Utah to Colorado after their plans to expand their brewery were not approved by the city. Fortunately with them setting up their new base of operations here, I’ve got to try nearly every beer they’ve released (plus some special versions at a American Homebrewing Association rally that they hosted). This pumpkin porter isn’t as dark tasting as most porters but the marriage of pumpkin and vanilla comes together nicely.
Avery’s The Kaiser- I am stealing a bit from last year’s list, but this wasn’t on my picks so I’m still within the rules. Last year I raved how Lefthand’s Oktoberfest beer is probably one of the best Marzen beers out there. This is probably the best Imperial Oktoberfest. It’s ultra malty, really strong and one of my top beers.
Odell Brewing Company’s Cutthroat Porter- This is of course available all year by Odell, but I’m not really big on drinking dark beers when it’s 80-99 degrees outside. However once the temperature hits about 60, the leaves start to turn brown, I’m quite happy with drinking this.
Great Divide’s Hoss- This too is released year round but this rye lager is every bit a proper Oktoberfest beer with Great Divide’s own spin. This is a more earthy-tasting version of the Oktoberfest beers we usually find ourselves drinking this time of year. Plus usually around November Denver hosts a lumberjack pub crawl and this just seems appropriate for it…granted the “dudebro” bars that host it carries it.
Santa Fe Brewing’s Oktoberfest- Santa Fe Brewing has put out some good canned beers (see: Java Imperial Stout). This Oktoberfest brew is a very crisp Marzen lager. It’s not remotely as malty as my other picks or preferences but it’s still a pretty good beer to prost to. Plus, I’m a fan of the somewhat minimalist label on the cans.
Hopefully these picks helped you discover a few new beers to Prost with while eating bratwurst or to drink while carving the Jack-o-Lanterns this year. It’s merely a few weeks til winter hits us and that brings us even more darker and stronger beers. Until then, raise a glass and prost to the arrival of Autumn!