Posted on 2013-09-27 15:27:03
Transitioning from long days and hot summer nights to short days and bone chilling evenings can be a tad bit depressing for some of us. However, fall is an exciting time for craft beer enthusiasts. As the autumn leaves begin turning to colours of deep reds, shades of orange and chestnut, and as the aroma of wood fireplaces and burning leaves fill neighbourhoods, Canadian craft brewers begin stocking shelves with their seasonal bests that match this beautiful occurrence. Whether you are attending a Halloween party or two, listening to the sounds of Oktoberfest, entertaining family and friends over Thanksgiving dinner, or just simply enjoying the fall foliage along a hiking trail, there are a plethora of seasonal brews to help you celebrate. What better opportunity to sample the wide variety of craft beers, because no matter what your autumnal activity might be, there is likely to be a seasonal beer to make the transition a smooth one.
Whistler Brewing [whistlerbeer.com]: Valley Trail Chestnut Ale is a true reflection of the Canadian fall season in western Canada. The roasted chestnuts impart a unique, bold nutty character with vanilla notes. The blend of robust caramel and crystal malts give the brew a deep brown amber hue. Drink it while you can, as this small batch, limited release brew will only be around for the fall season.
Yukon Brewing [Yukonbeer.com]: The Angry Hessian inspired by the 1819 Washington Irving story “The Legend of Sleep Hollow”. Yukon Brewing states, “It is brewed with 60 kg of pumpkin as well as molasses, demerara sugar, crushed cinnamon sticks, pureed ginger, crushed whole cloves and whole nutmeg – and oats for body. The result is pretty much pumpkin coloured, and very smooth and creamy. Close your eyes at the nose and you think there is a slice of pie on a plate in front of you, but when you fill your mouth the perception is more like pumpkin cheesecake, full of delicious flavour and mouthfeel. Clocking in at 5.0% abv, it is truly a sessionable pumpkin ale.”
Howe Sound Brewing [howsound.com]: Pumpineater hails from British Columbia. This award winning beer is best described as a high gravity pumpkin ale brewed with barly, fresh roasted pumpkin, hops, hint of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, water and yeast. Just as most seasonal craft beers, Pumpkineater is produced in very limited quantities each fall as part of the John Mitchell series.
Grand River Brewing [grandriverbrewing.com]: Highballer Pumpkin Ale is an award winning Ontario seasonal craft brew that is orange in colour, of course with a white frothy cream topping. Think pumpkin pie, with contributions from cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. The flavor is subtle pumpkin and spice balanced by a pale ale malt profile and hop contributions from amarillo and liberty hops. Pumpkins for the Highballer Pumpkin Ale are all grown by owner Bob Hannenberg in his Garden. This classic seasonal beer makes the perfect complement to any meal and adds a festive spice to any fall occasion.
Brasserie Mcauslan Brewing [mcauslan.com]: St. Ambroise Citroulle / The Great Pumpkin Ale is has become a well respected annual brew with a savory blend of pale and caramel malts, hops, pumpkin and spices including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. With perhaps a hint of molasses and malt sweetness the hop is dry across the palate. If you are not a fan of pumpkin, this one might just change your mind.
Great Lakes Brewery [greatlakesbeer.com]: Pumpkin Ale by Great Lakes Brewery is handcrafted with an assortment of specialty malts and hops and a generous amount of pumpkin added directly into the brew. The flavor is a combined balance of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice it is an ale that will go perfectly with your favourite dessert or traditional Thanksgiving feast. It’s not tree time yet, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t got turkey, stuffing, and eggnog on the brain.
In honour of the upcoming winter season, we also wanted to mention Great Lakes Brewery award winning Winter Ale, which will also be available for a limited time only. Combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, honey, ginger and orange peel, this unique beer is brimming with flavor.
Granville Island Brewing [gib.ca]: Granville Island Pumpkin Ale is chalk full of earthy tones which lend to a unique twist to this untraditional ale. Burnt orange in colour, this ale is reflection of autumn’s changing landscape. Munich malts are used in the beer giving it a biscuit flavor. Secret spices are added lending to notes of sinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and roasted pumpkin is added in after fermentation. Granville Island Brewing recommends pairing this unique beer with roast meats and hearty seasoned vegetables.
Central City Brewing [centralcitybrewing]: Brewed in British Columbia, Red Racer Pumpkin Ale is an amber ale with added spices and flavor to make for a rich and full seasonal ale that tastes slightly sweet and citrusy. This is a balanced beer where pumpkin takes more of a backseat think of a very light pumpkin pie with added clove, cinnamon, allspice and hops.
There are so many varietals of seasonal craft beers on the market these days. Not all of these I have selected with be locally available to you, however, I do encourage you to seek out local craft brews and give one a try.
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blog posts by Alex Zafer