From sessionable beers that pair well with a feast, to heartier ales made for sipping around the fire pit, Fall beers enjoy a diversity celebrated by beer drinkers perhaps more than any other seasonal selection. The broad scope of Fall beers available from Sacramento-area craft brewers highlights the open interpretation of which brew best embodies the season.
Following are a list of Fall-inspired beers available at craft breweries in Sacramento and the surrounding areas. Use it as a guide to see what's available in your area, chart out your own festive Fall beer tour, or to find a beer to enjoy while you sit back and watch the leaves change colors.
AMERICAN RIVER BREWING: Pumpkin Falls Ale
Information courtesy of David Mathis, American River Brewing Brewmaster
What Makes it a Good Fall Beer: We've been working on perfecting this recipe for the past 10 years and I think we nailed it this year. With the weather changing and Halloween and Thanksgiving rolling around, pumpkins are a predominant theme. And with the holidays and the family getting together, what's the festive dessert people share? Pumpkin pie.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: Think of the old fashioned pumpkin pie that mom used to make. That's what it looks, smells and tastes like. The only thing missing is the whipped cream.
How much was brewed and how long is it available: We brewed 30 barrels this year and plan to double that next year. It's been received very well. I anticipate being out by middle of October.
When is it available: It's available now in the tasting room and at several restaurants and liquor and grocery locations
AUBURN ALEHOUSE: Oktoberfest Marzen
Information courtesy of Brian Ford, Auburn Alehouse Brewmaster
What makes it a Fall beer: Marzen's are typically enjoyed from August to September during Oktoberfest in Germany. Our's is matured for 30 days with an authentic yeast strain. We feel this beer is authentic to the style both in material and theory, and it pairs well with poultry, beef and fish - perfect for the holiday eating season!
Aroma & Flavor Profile: It's amber-red in color with a really nice malt profile of German crystal and caramel malt. The German Noble hops produce a very nice earthy aroma and flavor that balance the malt so neither dominates the palate.
How much was brewed and how long is it available: We brewed 620 gallons. That should probably last through mid-October
When is it available: Now
JACK RUSSEL: Pumpkin Ale
Information courtesy of Jack Russell Brewery bartender, Nicole
What makes it a Fall beer: It's a light, easy drinking pumpkin spice beer with good amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: The cinnamon, nutmeg and clove give it a nice, spicy pumpkin pie flavor
How much was brewed and how long is it available: We're trying to keep it available through Thanksgiving
When is it available: The beginning of October
LOOMIS BASIN: Harvest Wet Hop Ale
Information courtesy of Kenny Gowan, Loomis Basin brewer
What makes it a Fall beer: This is a beer you can really only make once a year. We brewed it using only locally grown hops, with the majority picked from Sierra Hops in Lincoln, and added them to the boil within 24 hours of picking. It's got a little more body and higher alcohol than a conventional pale ale, making it ideal for the cooling weather and people's cravings for heartier foods and drinks.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: A light mahogany in color with a little hop to it, but not a strong hop forward presence like an IPA. You'll get fresh and citrusy up front with grassy, earthy notes on the nose.
When is it available: It's available now at local craft beer bars and the brewery.
How much was brewed and how long is it available: We brewed a 15-barrel batch, 30 kegs. Honestly, we're not sure how long it'll last.
ABV = 6.5%
IBU - 30
MRAZ BREWING: Fall IPA
Information courtesy of Michael Mraz, Out of Bounds Brewing Owner and Brewmaster
What makes it a Fall beer: This IPA is ideal for the Fall holiday season when you're eating a lot, as its moderate hop profile pairs with, instead of overpowering food.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: Auburn in color (like the season), the darker malts add a light toastiness to the flavor. A good amount of Cascade hops added at the end of the boil and in dry hopping deliver a drier, nice floral finish and smooth aroma. It's hoppy, but not so bitter it takes the enamel off your teeth.
How much was brewed and how long is it available: We brewed 6 barrels, about 200 gallons
When is it available: We'll have it on tap around the middle of October.
ABV: 7 %
NEW HELVETIA BREWING: Edgar Allan Porter
Information courtesy of Dave Gull, New Helvetia Vice President
What makes it a Fall beer: This is This Baltic style porter was brewed to coincide with the release of the Sacramento Public Library's Edgar Allan Poe Anthology in October.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: A Baltic style porter that's dark and strong, with distinct chocolate and coffee notes, and a rich full body.
How much was brewed and how long is it available: We brewed three barrels. It won't last through October.
When is it available: October 3, at the brewery
OUT OF BOUNDS BREWING CO.: Big Gun Chocolate Maple Porter
Information courtesy of Out of Bounds Brewing CEO, Eric Johnson
What makes it a Fall beer: While it's not a seasonal in the most rigid sense of the word (it will be a year-round offering), the beginning of the Oktoberfest period is the perfect time of year for us to release this special beer for the first time.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: The dark roasted malt and the residual sweetness of pure maple syrup on the palate are balanced by the bitterness from pure, farm-direct whole cone hops and Ecuadorian cocoa nibs.
How much was brewed and how long is it available: It'll be available year round
When is it available: Now
ROSEVILLE BREWING CO.: Steam Horse Stout
Information courtesy of Kelly Rue, Founder/President of Roseville Brewing Co.
What makes it a Fall beer: It's a cinnamon coffee stout that's perfect for sipping around the fire pit as the weather cools down - a great sipping beer.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: Roasty, smooth, extremely dark, strong coffee notes. The cinnamon smooths out the bitterness of the coffee nicely.
How much brewed, how long available: We brewed about 14 barrels and we're hoping to have it for the rest of the season, about a month.
When is it available: It's available on tap now, and the inaugural bottle series will be out around mid-October.
RUHSTALLER: Hop Sac First Leaf California Wet Hop Ale
Information courtesy of J.E. Paino, Ruhstaller Brewmaster
What makes it a Fall beer: It can only be brewed at this time of year.
Aroma & Flavor Profile: The flavor profile is very hoppy, but the extra weight from moisture in the wet hop produces a smooth, silky flavor. The aroma shows of a flowery aromatic quality, as well as a freshness and fruitiness on the nose.
How much was brewed and how long is it available: We brewed 250 cases. It's been well received so we're not sure how long it'll last.
When it is available: It will be available in stores late September.
TRACK 7 BREWING CO.: Tracktoberfest
What makes it a Fall beer: Brewed annually for our Oktoberfest celebration. Typically this beer is brewed in March and released for Oktoberfest in Germany. Its a lager style beer in its traditional form. However, we do a cold ale fermentation and cellar it at lager temperatures for approximately one month. Our version is heavily influenced by Munich and Aromatic malts. Definitely a more malt-forward beer than our traditional, largely American offerings.
Aroma & flavor profile: There is little to no hop "aroma" as most Americans and us on the West Coast are accustomed to sensing. The beer's malty body does lend it self to a deep bready aroma. That bready aroma then translates to the palette as well and is complimented with a subtle caramel flavor. The body is generally light. Further, it is cleanly bittered with German hops and there is little to no residual bitterness on its finish.
How much was brewed, how long is it available: We brewed 14 barrels of it this year. The majority of it will be consumed at our Tracktoberfest celebration this Saturday October 5.
When is it available: Its release is Saturday October 5. A number of our selected accounts may receive some of the beer. We'll keep it available at the Track 7 Taproom until the balance of it is consumed. If last year is any indication, I'd expect to be out of it within three weeks from release.
**Please return to this story as we are efforting inclusions from additional local brewers.
We are planning to offer a Winter, Spring and Summer preview as well.
By Paul Janes, @News10_Paul