Okay, it’s Fall. I finally admit it. And Fall is when everybody and their brother puts out a pumpkin beer because, you know, people like to drink pumpkiny things when it gets chilly outside. Just ask McDonalds or Starbucks. I don’t have anything against pumpkins as a vegetable (or fruit?), decoration, or additive to beer. I’ve had some mighty fine pumpkin beers in my day. However, I don’t like how the Fall seasonal beer lineup is dominated by the big orange gourd. Maybe I want to have a limited release beer designed for sipping fireside in chilly weather that doesn’t taste like Halloween candy?
To that end, I’ve rounded up a few Fall beers that don’t have a hint of pumpkin in them.
Flipside Red IPA, Sierra Nevada
I hesitate to call this hoppy beer a Fall seasonal. It’s more like you’re drinking the last days of summer in a bottle. It’s downright fruity with plenty of grapefruit bitterness, and just enough malty sweetness to keep it from being your standard summer IPA. Consider this your transitional beer. Because we all need transitional beers. Sierranevada.com
Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest
I give Highland props for making an Oktoberfest that doesn’t go over the top with notes of caramel. We’re talking restraint here. Think, more spicy malt than sweet malt, and a bit hoppier than you’d expect an Oktoberfest. highlandbrewing.com
Sweet Water Motor Boat
An ESB (Extra Special Bitter) that’s dry-hopped to maximize the citrus notes and drive home that “ESB” style. There is a bit of sweetness to the Motor Boat, but it comes up front and vanishes fast, replaced by a stranglehold of hoppiness. sweetwaterbrew.com