Ewan Porter's Top 5 Fall Beers
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival. And as the festivities are in full swing in Munich, Germany, and here in the US, we’d thought it be the perfect time to pay tribute to the king of adult beverages. It’s a wonderful time to be a beer enthusiast because there are several world-class beers being brewed around the globe.
But you don’t have to make the long journey across the pond to experience quality beer. I’ve put together a list of my Top 5 favorite beers to enjoy this time of year, without leaving the United States.
1: Southern Tier Pumking
All hail the king! That’s right I’m declaring this the beer you must try in 2015. Many breweries in the US have created various versions of pumpkin ales, which are generally released in the early fall. None do a better job of epitomizing this style than the folks in Western New York at Southern Tier.
Gently sniff the aroma this ale releases before you savor the sweet, cinnamon, pumpkin pie flavor of this beer. For a memorable tasting, it’s important to detect what awaits your palate prior to consuming it.
2: Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
For a long time, Pennsylvania has gone unnoticed or off the radar of the US craft beer scene. That notion has long since been disappeared. One of the breweries leading the surge is Weyerbacher, located 70 miles north of Philadelphia in the town of Easton.
I may have already declared Southern Tier’s Pumking my favorite of the Pumpkin Ales, but this sensation from Weyerbacher certainly ranks right up there with the best. This beer is truly a phenomenon with a spicy, caramel sweetness oozing from the bottle’s nose and the aroma of nutmeg.
3: Deschutes Zarabanda
It would be difficult to prepare any list of top beers without mentioning this one from Oregon and popular in the Pacific Northwest. The award-winning Deschutes brewery operates out of the charismatic, outdoor playground of Bend, and also operates an extremely vibrant and successful brewpub in downtown Portland.
Nestled amongst an array of memorable brews from Deschutes, the Zarabanda illustrates all a Saison-style beer should represent, with a Spanish twist. The team from Deschutes has collaborated with internationally-recognized chef, Jose Andres, to produce something a little extraordinary. While typical saison yeast has been infused into the beer, it’s the addition of Andres’ distinctive flavors – pink peppercorn, dried lime, lemon verbena and sumac – that makes this beer a truly special creation.
4: Epic Brewing Fermentation Without Representation
East meets west in another collaboration that hits a home run. The undisputed heavyweight of Utah’s thriving craft beer scene, Epic Brewing Company, in Salt Lake City, has joined forces with the US capital’s DC Brau, to fashion a wholly unique style of beer.
This majestic ale has the authenticity of a pumpkin ale, matched with the characteristics you would find in a classic porter. The combination of a clove, spice, ginger and cinnamon blend with chocolate and coffee notes, produce an Imperial Pumpkin Porter you won’t forget in a hurry.
5: Cigar City Oktoberfest Marzen
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of craft breweries opening in Florida, many of which can proudly lay claim to a host of quality beers. The benchmark, however, for all things beer in the Sunshine State belongs to Tampa’s Cigar City. This industrious facility on the outskirts of downtown boasts a multitude of superb styles of beer.
The eponymously named Oktoberfest Marzen will sweep you off your feet if you’re looking to celebrate Oktoberfest with a dash of poise. The greatest characteristic of this beer is the simplicity in which it’s produced. Light bodied with a floral bitterness, the Oktoberfest Marzen balances these traits out with a delicious malty sweetness. At just 5.5 percent, this goddess is commonly enjoyed over a prolonged session at the bar.
MORE: Ewan Uncovers Cleveland's Brewing History