Craft On Tap: Autumn ’15 Picks
Summer officially has passed and now Autumn is upon us. While it’ll be pretty warm (still in the 90s this weekend here), you may have noticed that Autumn has already began in the beer sections. Breweries tend to like to start things a month or two early, so there’s probably a chance that you’ve had your first Marzen/Oktoberfest or Pumpkin ale already. Since Oktoberfest festivities and this weekend’s Great American Beer Festival has put me into beer nerd mood, I’m putting a few articles together for “Beer Week” and like I try to do every season, I’ll pick a fresh crop of seasonal beers and briefly describe them to make the ultimate seasonal 6-pack (although some come in bombers). As before, the rules remain the same for this column:
- 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!
- Finally to keep it fresh each time: No repeats. I’ve done this particular column for 2 years. It’ll get boring if I just keep repeating past picks. Past picks are always a very good choice, plus more choices aren’t bad either. Check out some of the previous entries in the Craft On Tap link at the top of this page (I’ll wait)!
Without further adieu, here’s my picks for Autumn 2015:
Avery Brewing’s Rumpkin – I love nearly everything Avery releases from their barrel program and have tasted some awesome combinations. While paying around $10 for a regular size single bottle of a beer (not a bomber) may cause some to avoid buying this, it’ll be a mistake not to. Everything from the Demon of Ales series to the constant barrel releases have been awesome and well worth the price tag. Save for the sour brews, these usually have a pretty high ABV tied in and Rumpkin is no different with a 16.7%abv. The rum barrel aged pumpkin goodness is a great beer and has slowy turned into a Halloween-time tradition to enjoy a bottle (sometimes along with the bourbon aged counterpart Pump[ky]n) along with some friends.
Elysian Punkuccino– Sadly, Elysian was bought out by InBev (who owns Budweiser and a host of other breweries) a few months ago so they technically aren’t a craft brewery by definition now. Hopefully Elysian will not be compromised with their quality. Elysian is well known for pumpkin beers and this sort of is a spin on a beer version of a pumpkin spice coffee beverage. The lactose gives it a nice creamy mouthfeel while the pumpkin spice hits all the right notes with flavor.
Breckenridge Autumn Ale- While visiting their massive new farmhouse brewery this summer, this seasonal ale was available on tap and since I wanted to definitely stray from their normal offerings that I could find anywhere, I decided to drink it on a 98 degree day. To my surprise, it was extremely drinkable in the heat. It’s like a Marzen (aka Oktoberfest ale) with a nice pecan spin.
Ballast Point’s Pumpkin Down!- I just had this beer a few days prior to this article and really liked it. While there’s no shortage of pumpkin beers, this pumpkin scotch ale had a nice warm bite to it. Very tasty and definitely worthy of a spot in the fridge!
Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest- Sierra Nevada is one of the older craft breweries in America and this year they released a very awesome Oktoberfest ale brewed in collaboration with German brewery Brauhaus Riegele and allegedly will team with a new German Brewery every year! With one week of Oktoberfest left, this beer is worthy of going in your stein this year.