Beer Review: Fall Into Winter With Our Editors’ Favorite Seasonal Brews



Home » Outdoor » Beer Review: Fall Into Winter With Our Editors’ Favorite Seasonal Brews

Looking for a new brew to try this fall? Check out our editors’ favorite brews and whatnot for post-ski, post-leaf-peeping, post-hike fall fun.

The season of fall gives way to lots of things — brisk morning walks, birds migrating south, cooler weather, the donning of flannels and beanies, the sipping of pumpkin-spiced lattes. Fall for our editors also means hunting season, the sun setting earlier, headlamp-lit morning and evening runs.

But most of all, it means finding joy in the little things — namely, beers with flavors that only come around during fall.

Favorite Beers for Fall

Denver Beer Co. Pretzel Assassin

Aside from having a cool moniker, Denver Beer Company’s Pretzel Assassin ($9/6-pack) is a fantastically flavored beer. This Vienna lager, while darker than a traditional lager and maltier, still invites crisp, easy drinking.

This full-bodied beer is brewed with Munich and caramel malts, adding a touch of sweetness — and if that doesn’t say fall, I don’t know what does. Pairs well with soups, chilis, and anything grilled. Oh, and of course, Bavarian pretzels.

Style: Vienna Lager
ABV: 5%
Price: $9/6-pack

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New Holland Dragon’s Milk White Stout

While this is an absolute treat any day of the damn year, we’re tossing it in for fall because this delectable brew just hits better on those first chilly evenings. New Holland out of Michigan pushed harder into the outdoors space with its recent, low-carb Lightpoint ale.

But find yourself the Game of Thrones-worthy label on New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk — an arresting reptilian profile — and you won’t regret buying it right then and there. While it comes in a few iterations, the white stout offers up something special.

This dessert-worthy brew is luscious and sweet — very viscous with a heavy mouthfeel. And though it’s a 6% beer (11% for the traditional stout), you don’t need to sip. Dragon’s Milk is so delightfully tasty, you owe it to yourself to enjoy it liberally.

Think a melange of caramel, chocolate, toffee, cardamom, and “hot damn!” — all with a buttery finish. And this beer’s bourbon barrel aging adds both fragrance and complexity to the experience. The white carries a lower ABV and has a slight bitterness on the finish, while the traditional is a heavier beer with a decadent sweetness.

Style: White stout (available as Stout)
ABV: 6% (11%)
Price: $14/6-pack

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Blue/Point Brewing Big Mother Pumpkin Imperial Ale

The fourth release in New York-based Blue/Point Brewing’s Imperial Series, Big Mother Pumpkin is a slice of pumpkin pie in a can. And we don’t say that lightly.

Autumnal spices on the nose combine with notes of graham cracker and brown sugar help you feel cozier with each sip. Then, of course, there’s the hearty 9% ABV that packs a second punch.

Style: Imperial Ale
ABV: 9%
Price: varies

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Weldwerks Brewery Juicy Bits

This Colorado-brewed beer is available year-round, but we’ve found that it pairs really well with lots of fall favorite foods. (Recently for us, fire-roasted peppers and veg, homemade cornbread, and so much more.)

And especially if you don’t like the typical fall/winter beer melange of ales and stouts, this hoppy IPA is a great alternative choice. And with three types of hops (dry-hopped as well), this slightly citrusy hazy IPA won’t disappoint.

Style: New England IPA
ABV: 6.7%
Price: $11/4-pack

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10Barrel Cleanline Blood Orange Hard Seltzer

For all those who are gluten-free (or maybe beer adverse), we had to include a seltzer. Normally, you’ll find tropical, fruit, and easy-to-recognize floral flavors in seltzers — but fall isn’t quite the time to break out a lime or pineapple bevvie.

Thankfully, 10Barrel makes a hearty Blood Orange seltzer worthy of a place in your pack or cooler. The limited release, made with all the hard-core hunters over at Born and Raised Outdoors, is what they’re hoping could be the first “Hunting Hard Seltzer.” This seltzer isn’t watery, and it has a good crisp flavor — plus a great blood orange aroma. It comes in 16-ounce cans.

Style: Seltzer
ABV: 5%
Price: N/A
Special info: 1% of sales donated to Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Corps; available in CA, CO, ID, NV, OR, and WA

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Favorite Beers for Winter

10Barrel POW Stout

10Barrel’s “Drink Beer Outside” slogan says it all. Add to that slogan a sparkly white wraparound can with the silhouette of a determined skier leaning hard into a turn, and you know you’ve come to the right place.

In short: some beers are meant to pair with the outdoors. And the onset of colder weather means only one thing: stouts.

Made in collaboration with Protect Our Winters (POW), 10Barrel’s Pray for POW stout is an annual favorite for our staff. It’s deep and nuanced, yet it goes down pretty easy.

The stout is dark and heavy, with notes of coffee and chocolate — perfect for slow sipping after a long day of skiing, or around the backyard fire pit or campfire.

Style: Winter Stout
ABV: 7%
Price: varies
Special info: Limited edition; 1% of proceeds are donated to Protect Our Winters

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Boulevard Brewing Nut Cracker

For everyone who lives for Starbucks’ green-and-red holiday cups, here’s your purpose-brewed Festivus beer. A winter warmer ale, this beer has all the hallmarks (get it?) of a limited holiday season brew.

Spicy, dark, and equal parts nutty, hoppy, and sweet, this ale isn’t pronounced in any one area. Instead, it drinks like a special edition should: easy yet noteworthy. If you’ve been put off holiday-specific beer, this is one you should try.

With a higher ABV than your average off-the-shelf brewski, the Nut Cracker rides the line between high and low alcohol, so you can enjoy a couple without the typical kick in the pants most specially brewed ales command. Try one out in front of the fireplace and tell us you’re not filled with the jovial holiday spirit — we dare ya!

Style: Winter warmer ale
ABV: 7.8%
Price: $10/6-pack

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 St. Bernardus ABT 12

This here’s a real beer, and a big one, too. Not only does St. Bernardus market its ABT 12 as “one of the best beers in the world,” the folks over at Beer Advocate score it at 99 out of 100.

And we’re not here to tell you that high-scoring beers are the end all, be all. But the ABT 12 is to beer what a homemade tiramisu is to food. It’s sweet, succulent, complex — not to mention something special you shouldn’t just pound at will.

At 10%, this beer is meant to be enjoyed slowly. A dark quadruple, it’s packed with sweet flavor, fragrance, and complexity in spades.

This one is so rich, we’d wager you could hold off on ordering an appetizer and instead, just luxuriate in the big body, and heavy mouthfeel like you would if you were eating a meal. While not exactly ubiquitous, St. Bernardus ABT 12 awaits your curious eyes on shelves around the U.S.

Style: Quadruple
ABV: 10%
Price: varies

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Sanitas Brewing Co. EHS Mosaic + Citra DIPA

For this experimental hop beer, Boulder-based Sanitas Brewing Co. created a liquid hop version of Citra and Mosaic to create a hearty blend of dry hop flavor cut with grapefruit and mandarin notes.

These citrus notes counter the hops to create an excellent balance, and the high ABV will definitely keep you warm through winter.

But pick it up soon, because this Double IPA is a limited release.

Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9.7%
Price: varies

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Winter Cocktail Recipes: Hot Drinks for Cold Camping (or at Home)

You can do more to stay warm than layering up. Time to up your cocktail game with some warm libations. Read more…

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