Craft Beer Fall Seasonals 2011

By Meghan Storey

Fall colors—they can be found in more places than just the trees this time of year. The colors of our fresh fruits and veggies are fading into richer, deeper colors and so are our beers. Fall means harvest time and harvest means access to the most fresh and vibrant ingredients for brewing. America’s brewers take full advantage of the season and what it can bring to their craft beer fall seasonals.

We asked Brewers Association member breweries to share their latest creations, which as you can see truly highlight the bounties of  fall.

Boulevard Fall SeasonalBob’s ’47 Oktoberfest | Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City, Missouri

A Munich-style Lager, medium-bodied and dark amber brew with a malty flavor and well-balanced hop character. This brew is one of our most popular seasonals we release.

Availability – Bob’s ’47 is sold in 12oz six and 12-packs and is available on draught Boulevard can be found in 20 states (we distribute state-wide to: AR, IA, IN, KS, MO, NE, ND, OK, SD, WY, WA, ID, OR and AK; and partial distribution to: AL, CO, IL, MN, TX and UT)

Sticky Fingers Fresh-Hopped Ale | Crazy Mountain Brewing Company
Edwards, Colorado

This very unique beer is a fresh-hopped style Ale made from Cascade and Chinook hops grown locally at Crazy Mountain’s very own hop farm in Elizabeth, Colorado. The Crazy Mountain hop crop was supplemented in the brew with some organic hops from female-run Hippie Chicks hop farm in Palisade, Colorado.

The concept behind fresh-hopped beers is to make sure the wet hops are as fresh from the vine as possible, so the goal is to get the hops into the boil within mere hours after they are picked. Fresh-hopped ales can only be done once a year in the fall when the annual hop harvest begins.

Sticky Fingers promises to be a hop lover’s dream. Each keg of it will contain 1.3lbs of fresh whole flower hops. While being extremely hoppy, it will also be smooth and balanced and will dazzle craft beer aficianado’s palates this season.

Availability – Crazy Mountain’s tasting room in Edwards, CO, as well as at Freshcraft in Denver.

Foothills Fall SeasonalFoothills India Style Brown Ale | Foothills Brewing
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

This is the 5th annual release of this hopped up Brown Ale, a favorite of both our sales and brew teams. 7% ABV, 70 IBU

Availability – For details on retailers, use Find Foothills.

Big Barrel Double IPA | Karl Strauss Brewing Company
San Diego, California 

When we kicked off this series of intense hoppy beers, we wanted to go big. Imported New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops provide a vibrant tropical aroma that raises eyebrows and expectations. Aggressive amounts of Warrior and Ahtanum hops produce an assertive bitterness that stands out against a firm malt backbone. Balanced even at 90 IBUs, Big Barrel leaves a considerable first impression that serves as a prelude of things to come.

Availability –  In 22oz bottles and draught at over 2500 grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants, and bars throughout Southern California.

Ladyface Weizenbock | Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie
Agoura Hills, California

We celebrate Oktoberfest with Ladyface’s fall seasonal, a German-style Wheat that is dark and sultry, possessing chocolate and raisin tones, with notes of cloves and banana, and a dry finish. It is unfiltered and the large amount of wheat in the recipe lends a rich body, and gives it’s appearance a characteristic cloudy haze. 8.5% ABV

Availability – Los Angeles pubs and bars

Local Acre Fall SeasonalLocal Acre Wet Hop Lager | Lakefront Brewery
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Local Acre was first created to capture the fresh taste of all locally grown ingredients for a flavor that is pure Wisconsin. Now we’ve taken this idea one step further in a process called “wet hopping”. By taking hops directly from the field to the brewery, we preserve the original flavor, some of  which is lost in the usual drying process.

The harvested hop goes straight to our eagerly awaiting brewers who submerge them in this one-of-a-kind brew. The result is an incredibly fresh hop taste and aroma balanced with our Wisconsin-grown malted barley, giving this unfiltered Lager its hearty body and hazy straw color. Taste the soul of Wisconsin and you will find a well-balanced, unfiltered, homegrown Lager with an ample body, yet a crisp, Pilsner-like finish. 7% ABV.

Availability – 22oz bomber bottles. Use the Lakefront Where to Buy directory.

Mothers Fall SeasonalOld School | Mother’s Brewing Company
Springfield, Missouri

Old School is a traditional, German-style Amber Lager. To create the exact flavors and body that we were seeking, we allowed this beer to lager for four months. The result is a great Amber Lager that is smooth and malty with just the faintest touch of hops!

Availability – available throughout Southwest, MO

Rogue Fall SeasonalGood Chit Pilsner  | Rogue Ales
Newport, Oregon

Good Chit Pilsner is made with Rogue Farm barley that we floor-malted in small batches. Floor malting is an old fashioned, eight day process that includes steeping, germination, raking, roasting, bagging and hands on love 24 hours a day. “Chit” refers to the start of the rootlets that emerge from the embryo of the kernel once steeping is complete and germination begins.

Floor-malting is an extension of Rogue’s commitment to knowing and letting others know the terroir, province and origin of its ingredients by Growing Your Own (GYO).

Availability – 22oz bottles and draught.

Harvest Ale | Rohrbach Brewing Company
Rochester, New York

We brewed two 7 bbl batches of a Harvest Ale with hops grown at our brewpub and then wet-hopped with two different varieties from a local hop farm called Climbing Bines. The Harvest Ales are extremely hoppy with a gravity unit : bitterness unit ratio of one, and we used approximately 37.5 pounds of hops in each batch when including the mash hops and wet hops.

The two different Harvest Ales are code-named “C” and “M” because we used all Chinook wet hops on one batch, and all Magnum wet hops on the other. We plan on putting both batches on tap at the same time and allowing customers to purchase two 12 ounce beers while comparing and contrasting each one.

Availability – Our Harvest Ales will only be available at our brewpub/restaurant at 3859 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14628 and our production brewery at 97 Railroad Street, Rochester, NY 14609.

Schafly Fall SeasonalSchlafly Oktoberfest | Schlafly Beer
St. Louis, Missouri

Our Oktoberfest is a traditional Bavarian Märzen with a toasty malt aroma and slight caramel taste. This rich, amber Lager is balanced by the use of German noble hops, while the lager yeast ferments cold and slow, creating a smooth, crisp beer.

Märzen, or Oktoberfest, has its origins in Bavaria, most likely before the 16th century. Because of the danger of fire during the dry summer months, the Bavarian Brauordnung was decreed in 1539, stating that beer could only be brewed from September 29 (Saint Michael) to April 23 (Saint George). Over the summer months, beers were stored, or lagered, in caves and stone cellars. The evolution of Oktoberfest came from the last brews of the year, in March (or Märzen), as these beers would be ready to drink for the Bavarian celebration, “Oktoberfest”.

Availability – Schlafly’s main distribution area (300 mile radius of St. Louis, minus Chicago) in MO, IL, MS, IN, IA, KS, TN, KY, and possibly in DC.

Oktoberfest | Standing Stone Brewing Co
Ashland, Oregon

Standing Stone’s Oktoberfest is a German-Style Marzen; deep golden with orange hues, candy-like aroma, intense malty flavor, smooth medium body. This beer is one of only three Lagers we brew throughout the year. 6.8% ABV

Availability – On draught at Standing Stone Brewing Co. or in your kegerator at home if you buy a keg from us.

Saison du Swamp | Swamp Head Brewery
Gainesville, Florida

This is a traditional Saison brewed with Belgian yeast and allowed to frement at 80-84°F for three months during our hot Florida summer.

Summers here in North Florida are hot and humid, not exactly the conditions that most ale yeasts prefer. This is why Swamp Head chose a yeast that likes it hot! This historical ale yeast used in the Wallonia region of Belgium produces a complex seasonal ale known as Saison. They do their best work at temperatures above 80°F, when typical ale yeasts prefer temperatures in the 60’s. So we figured if we have to work in a sweltering swamp environment, why not brew a seasonal ale that enjoys Florida summers too? From the initial aromas of pepper and summer fruits to the lingering finish hinted with floral hops, Saison Du Swamp is a bottle-conditioned Ale sealed for any season.

Availability – kegs and bottles thoughout Florida.

Terrapin Fall SeasonalPeaotch | Terrapin Beer Co.
Atlanta, Georgia

Peaotch, peach flavored Ale is light with rich malty notes, a slight hoppy bitterness, and an amazing peachy aroma and flavor. This is the fourth beer in the Midnight Project Collaboration series between Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, CO and Terrapin. Left hand brewer Ro Gunzel came to Athens, GA in July to brew with our own Brian “Spike” Buckowski and this was the fruit of their labors!

Availability – GA, FL, NC, SC, AL, TN, VA, NJ, PA

What fall seasonals were you waiting for this year? Is your local craft brewer incorporating any seasonal or fresh ingredients into their beers this fall?

Meghan StoreyMeghan Storey, the Brewers Association’s Web Editor, has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer for the past four years. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from the University of Mississippi, and has recently relocated to Nashville, TN. She loves to introduce friends to new craft beers and food pairings. Since beginning work on she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.

Meghan Storey has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer since graduating from the University of Mississippi. Now living in Nashville, TN, with her big yellow dog Wally, she loves introducing friends to new craft beer and food pairings. Since beginning work on she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.

Read more from Meghan Storey