The 7 Local Beers We're Drinking This Fall
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With the weather cooling down to the brisk 50s and 60s and the wind picking up during your evening commute, it’s time to let go of our summer kolsches and farmhouse ales and delve deep into the darker stuff. Here’s a list of what we’re drinking this fall.
By Elizabeth Atkinson
1. Off Color Brewing 15 Feet.
The brewery known for making light beers kinda funky finds the perfect balance between light and heavy for fall weather. Labeled as an applewood smoked weisse beer—it’s pale and yellow, so you might not think it's a nice fall beer—it packs in the smokiness, apple and bacon at first sniff. The taste is distinctly smoked but the body is light as a feather, leaving us feeling like we could drink more and more of this stuff. ($9.99/6 pack at Binny’s)
2. Lake Effect Brewing Vielle Blonde.
So maybe we’re trying to drag summer out just a bit longer, but there’s no harm in that. We know winter’s on it’s way and we can’t be having stouts and porters for six whole months. This funky Belgian blonde has been hanging out in red wine barrels for ten months. Distinctly sour in nose and in taste, the palate-drying feel of the red wine shines through. But it’s not a sour, it stays true to its Belgian roots and remains extremely drinkable. We’ll drink the whole pint. ($13.99/25.4oz bottle at Binny’s)
3. Wild Onion Pumpkin Ale.
It wouldn’t be a real fall list if we didn’t include at least one pumpkin beer. Wild Onion adds a fierce competitor to the pumpkin beer list that many would end with Southern Tier’s Pumking (or maybe take one step further to the pumpkin stout brother of Pumking, Warlock). It’s a pumpkin ale, but less so on the pumpkin and moreso on the pumpkin pie spices. It’s malty and not nearly as sweet as many pumpkin beers you’ll find out there. This is not liquid alcoholic pumpkin pie, and we’re okay with that. ($9.99/6 pack at Binny’s)
4. 5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte.
This is the closest we’re getting to Oktoberfests on this list. 5 Rabbit says this beer is loosely based on an Oktoberfest style, but it’s fermented with ale yeast and has some ingredients you wouldn’t expect for a true Oktoberfest. They’ve themed it around the idea of the life and death of harvest. They’ve added dulce de leche, adding a sweet caramel taste to the beer along with an unfermentable milk sugar. Finishing out the beer are a variety of spices to give it a graham cracker taste, making this an Oktoberfest-esque brew we’ll keep grabbing. ($11.99/6 pack at Binny’s)
5. Moody Tongue Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter.
Seeing this on the shelf, it looked like the perfect fall beer. The “Baltic” in the name made it seem lighter than your standard porter, and “caramelized chocolate churro” all sounded like things with perfect fall flavors. Moody Tongue specializes in culinary brewing: bringing flavors not normally found in beer to beer to work alongside food. The cinnamon sugar makes this one a great alternative for anyone looking for something darker but not heavy with a long list of spices. ($14.99/4pack at Binny’s)
6. Forbidden Root Shady Character.
Forbidden Root specializes in adding odd botanical ingredients to beers, so it makes sense that they’d have something up our alley for fall. It’s a classic porter, but they’ve added chocolate and a few wild flavors to really round it out (black walnuts, anise, roasted chestnuts, licorice). If you’re looking for something balanced but with a pack of spice, Forbidden Root’s botanical beers always deliver, and we think this one is positively perfect for the brisk weather. ($10.99/4 pack at Binny’s)
7. Spiteful Mrs. O’Leary’s Chocolate Milk Stout.
It pours so deeply dark, you might be able to ease yourself into winter with this one. The head produces small brown bubbles, preparing you for the creamy and chocolatey milk stout to come. The taste is pure chocolate, rich and roasty with a nice lacto mouthfeel. If this is what Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was making when it knocked over the bucket, we’re okay with this turning Chicago into the second city. ($8.99/22oz bottle at Binny’s)