Brian’s Autumn Beers

Autumn is a great time for me when it comes to beers because I generally prefer darker beers, and many autumn/winter seasonal beers are of the darker varieties.

Among our local craft breweries, I very much enjoy the Bad Scene imperial stout from Institution Ale Company. Great from the can, but even better from the draft!

This is a very popular brew and they often run out. As I am writing this post, they are currently out of stock. (I was going to run out to grab some as soon as I was done writing too!)

But in terms of easier to find craft beers, I have two very strong recommendations for autumn beers to keep you warm as the nights start getting chillier.

These are both from Elysian Brewing and can be found in most grocery stores, beer and wine stores, and/or liquor stores. You might be able to order online too, depending on your state’s laws about online alcohol sales. In fact, I am seeing Elysian variety packs that include both of these brews along with a couple others so you can try multiple flavors.

The variety pack includes:

  • Dark o’ the Moon
  • Night Owl
  • The Great Pumpkin
  • Punkuccino

I have not tried The Great Pumpkin or Punkuccino, so I will just be reviewing the first two.

Dark o’ the Moon – Pumpkin Stout
ABV 7.5%

This is a lovely, subtly flavored pumpkin stout to serve alongside a hearty fall meal like a thick stew and bread or shepherd’s pie (look for my shepherd’s pie recipe coming soon!). This is a very highly rated, award-winning beer. From Beer Advocate “Dark o’ the Moon is brewed with Great Western pale, Crisp 77° Crystal, Munich, Cara-Vienne, roasted, chocolate and Special B malts with roasted pumpkin seeds in the mash. Pumpkin in the mash, kettle and fermenter. Bittered with Magnum and finished with Saaz and crushed cinnamon.” I highly recommend this if you’re looking for something filling and flavorful.

Night Owl – Pumpkin Ale
ABV 6.7%

I absolutely love this beer. My fellow Smoking Hot Dad Seth introduced this to me last year, and it immediately became my favorite autumn seasonal beer (by the time I tried it, we were already into winter so I couldn’t get any more until recently!).

I enjoy Dark o’ the Moon very much, but given a choice I will take Night Owl any time. However, I should mention this beer is far more flavorful and complex than Dark o’ the Moon and most other pumpkin-flavored beers. I personally like that complexity of flavor, but it might not be to everyone’s taste. It has a rich, sweet and spicy balance where the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg really come through. This is a beer to drink slowly, appreciating the different flavors, as you sit around a fire with friends.

This is also highly rated on Beer Advocate with this description of the ingredients, “Brewed with 150 lbs. of pumpkin in each batch. Made with Pale, Munich and Crystal malts green and roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin in the mash, boil and fermenter. Bittered with Horizon hops. Spiced in conditioning with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.” And okay fine, if you want to say this is the Pumpkin Spice Latte of beers, then go ahead! I am going to drink it anyway!

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