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The Top Craft Beers of Fall 2017 – CRAFTR
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The Top Craft Beers of Fall 2017

As the years roll by and the seasons change once again, craft beer continues to go from strength to strength. The craft beer brewers of America are pushing the boundaries ever further; sacks of hops and malt are bursting at the seams, as new styles deliver bigger, punchier flavors and aromas. Further innovative concoctions will soon hit the shelves in the form of the latest Fall beers, and we can’t wait to see what’s new!

Fall is a wonderful transitional season, synonymous with the changing of green to yellow, the smell of fire smoke, copious amounts of pumpkin pie and a craving for hearty, complex beers. It’s perhaps the most exciting season for craft beer, as new flavor combinations are unleashed, in a quest to warm our bones as the chill begins to set in.

We’ve had a look around the States to see what sensational Fall beer we can expect this season. So, sit back, grab one last IPA before Summer ends and prepare to keep yourself from drooling.

But, before we start, we’re aware that opinion is divided on pumpkin ales, so we’re gonna give them a miss for the most part. Instead, we’ll focus on other seasonal classics coming soon. Pumpkin fans don’t despair, we’ll have a whole guide dedicated to the great gourd coming soon!

Now, in no particular order, here’s our pick of this season’s must try Fall beers, enjoy.

10: Starr Hill Brewery: Resinate (Imperial Red IPA)

Okay, so this may not be available throughout Fall, and you may have been able to get your hands on it since July, but it is also available throughout September. And, it’s a fantastic beer to see you through the transition period between late Summer and early Fall. With its deep ruby red hue, this Imperial IPA reflects the turning of leaves from green to red/orange. Unlike typical ruby ales however, Resinate packs a helluva hop punch and a fairly high abv.

As the name suggests, the hops give a rich, deep resinous character to the beer, which is balanced by a malt sweetness derived from the crystal malts used to provide the rich, red color. With citrus and evergreen on the nose and a dank bitter finish, this is a hop forward, robust red IPA that is sure to take the chill off those first cold evenings.

Stats: ABV: 7.7% IBU: 72 Color: deep red
where to find it: Find it on draft and by the bottle in bars and retail outlets in and around Virginia

9: Two Beers Brewery: Fresh Hop (Harvest IPA)

When creating a list of awesome Fall beers, we simply had to mention at least one harvest ale. Available for an incredibly limited time, these craft beers use the first pickings of the hop harvest, and rather than using them dried, the brewers chuck in fresh hop flowers, providing a unique taste. Fresh Hop is one of the finest harvest ales available, and this bright and juicy IPA certainly packs an enticing aroma.

The brewery makes the annual road-trip to the Yakima Valley to make the most of the start of the hop harvest. Fresh hop is brewed with fresh, whole cone Centennial hops, alongside several other punchy aroma hops to deliver an incredibly aromatic IPA. With subtle hints of grapefruit and passionfruit on the nose, balanced by light caramel malt tones, it packs a punch that only fresh hops are able to deliver. It’s a Fall beer that can’t be missed, so if you find it, drink it!

Stats: ABV: 6.2% IBU: 70 Color: dark straw
where to find it: Find it on draft and by the bottle in bars and retail outlets in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho. But be quick, it won’t last long!

8: The Bruery: Autumn Maple (Spiced Ale)

Offering an alternative to the pumpkin beers that generally flood the market in Fall, Autumn Maple from The Bruery is brewed with copious amounts of yams. Seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, allspice and of course, maple syrup, a traditional Belgian yeast strain and warm fermentation brings everything together to create a spicy, warming Fall beer to be enjoyed on a chilly evening.

Bold and delicious, it’s the perfect craft beer to wash down a hearty thanksgiving dinner, and also pairs excellently with pumpkin pie. While the taste may seem unusual initially, you’ll soon be craving another mouthful! It offers an aroma that can only be described as stereotypically Fall-esque, and is one to seek out. Also, keep your eyes open for bourbon barrel aged and barrel fermented versions of this stunning Fall beer.

Stats: ABV: 10% IBU: 15 Color: Copper/Brown
where to find it: Find it by the bottle in craft beer shops and bars in and around California and on tap at the Bruery Tasting Room throughout Fall.

7: Odell Brewing Company: Oktoberfest (Märzen)

We couldn’t talk about the best Fall beers without mentioning the world-famous Oktoberfest. Arguably the largest, oldest celebration of beer in the world, it’s an event steeped in history that has developed its own culture and many followers. Indeed, replica festivals can now be found across the globe, with craft beer brewers injecting something new into the beverage of choice.

Odell Brewing Company offer drinkers throughout Fort Collins a crisp, malt forward, beautifully traditional Märzen style lager, a nice, crisp change from the IPAs you’ve probably been drinking all summer! Previously this brew was only ever produced on a small scale, however, for the first year ever, 300 barrels have been brewed, to be sold only on tap at craft beer festivals around the country.

Stats: ABV: 6.1% IBU: 19 Color: Amber
where to find it: Oktoberfest will be released on September 28th, in the brewery taproom during their Oktoberfest celebrations. Afterwards, find this classic Fall beer at a variety of Oktoberfest festivals and events in and around Colorado throughout October.

6: AleSmith: Evil Dead Red (Red Ale)

With Fall comes Halloween, and to celebrate this spooky holiday, AleSmith have released Evil Dead Red. It’s a fantastic, well balanced blood red ale, released only around Halloween. With an abv of 6.66%, this is a fiendish craft beer that delivers a heavy pine and citrus aroma to offset the rich malt sweetness. Deliciously smooth, it’s an easy drinking Fall beer that looks, tastes and smells incredible.

Stats: ABV: 6.66% IBU: 10 Color: Blood Red
where to find it: Keep your eyes peeled throughout September and October, especially around Halloween. You’ll be able to find it in and around San Diego and Los Angeles.

5: Deschutes: Hopzeit Autumn IPA

While Hopzeit is a beer inspired by the malty flavours of a traditional German Märzenbier, this Autumn IPA packs a hoppy punch. The brewery advise that anyone looking for an authentic Oktoberfest lager should head for Munich. Hopzeit is a modern, hard hitting Fall beer, well dosed with the latest German hop varieties.

The result is a smooth, easy drinking craft beer with spicy, herbal notes and a fruitiness to balance the malt sweetness. It’s a real blend of old and new, executed to perfection, creating a great IPA to share with friends in the backyard before the good weather truly does dessert us.

Stats: ABV: 7% IBU: 60 Color: Amber
where to find it: Available from August through October, you’ll be able to find it in 28 States across the US, as well as in Canada.

4: Full Sail: Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (Imperial Stout)

For lovers of dark, rich, complex craft beer, Fall is a fantastic season to crack open those imperial stouts you’ve had your eye on all summer. The chill in the air is soon banished after the first sip of a bold stout or porter. One to look out for is Full Sail’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout.

An annual, small batch release, this impressive stout celebrates the best of American craft beer and the best of American bourbon. It was brewed almost a year ago and has been quietly maturing in Wild Turkey casks. After several months in the cask, the beer has picked up a broad spectrum of flavours from the wood and bourbon.

It’s elegant and rich, with hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, dried cherry and whisky. With a warm finish, this inky black beverage is one to savor and enjoy as those first cold nights roll in. If you have the patience, it also cellars excellently.

Stats: ABV: 9.5% IBU: 40 Color: Pitch Black
where to find it: Produced in small batches, it’s only available for a limited time from September. Find it on draft or by the bottle at the Full Sail Brew Pub and other select craft beer shops and bars.

3: The Veil Brewing: Never Never Aloha Aloha (Gose)

Now, not everyone enjoys the lead up to winter. With temperatures dropping and the days getting darker, many of us soon pine for those carefree summer days! With that in mind, we’ve selected a tropical, Hawaiian punch inspired gose as one of our top Fall beers this year. Never Never Aloha Aloha is the doubled fruit version of the original Never Aloha, and packs much more of a fruity punch than the original.

This tart, punchy gose is packed full of exotic fruits, such as pineapple, mango, blood orange, passion fruit, guava and cherry, guaranteed to transport you back to a sunny beach - at least in your mind! Mouth wateringly sumptuous, this limited release uses Hawaiian red alaea sea salt to provide a satisfying, salty tang. First time sour drinkers are likely to enjoy the bite, which isn’t as mouth puckering as other sour beers. Making its debut at the start of September, keep your eyes peeled for this one.

Stats: ABV: 5.1% IBU: n/a Color: Grapefruit Pink
where to find it: Available on tap and by the can, you’ll find it at The Veil Taproom and in craft beer bars and bottles shop in and around Richmond.

2: Breckenridge Brewery: Autumn Ale (Brown Ale)

A classic dark, warming Fall beer that delivers a nutty, toasted malt flavour - ideal for warming your bones. Hop heads may not be overly excited about this particular craft beer, but for any fan of rich malty ales, it’s an exceptional Fall beer that’s well worth seeking out.

Blending traditional malt forward Oktoberfest lagers from Germany, with the clean crispness of an American ale, the brewery use Munich malts and Bavarian hops to create a full-bodied treat. The nuttiness and roast malt notes may well put you in mind of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or is that too soon?

Stats: ABV: 7% IBU: 21 Color: dark brown
where to find it: It’s widely available throughout Denver and the surrounding areas and can be found on tap or by the bottle

1: Saint Arnold Brewing Company: Pumpkinator (Pumpkin Ale)

Okay, so we couldn’t resist, but it’s the only pumpkin beer we’ve mentioned! And, it’s something a little bit special; even the most hardcore anti pumpkin beer drinker might enjoy it. This imperial pumpkin stout is packed full of flavour, spice and everything nice.

Best enjoyed at around 50°F to release the full potential of the spices, it’s a wonderfully balanced craft beer that offers sweetness, spice and a warm alcohol finish. Nutmeg and cinnamon can be felt on the nose, giving a real pumpkin pie aroma. It’s a heavy bodied Fall beer that is best enjoyed savored at the end of a Thanksgiving meal.

Stats: ABV: 11% IBU: 34 Color: Black
where to find it: Released around October 15th, you can find it on tap or by the bottle throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Raising the bar

So, keep your eyes peeled this Fall, and see how many of these great beers you can get your hands on! There’s a wide range of new and exciting flavors to explore, with many of the best craft beers this season redefining what a Fall beer actually is. No longer is IPA out of place as the cold weather creeps in, and no longer is Fall purely the domain of rich, malty beers.