Nick Carr on September 30, 2015 7 Comments Pumpkin beer defines the Fall season these days. No other beer has split the craft beer community quite like the pumpkin beer. Some are enamored by it, waiting expectantly for the first six-packs of pumpkin love to hit their local shelves, others dread the season for the scourge of squash it releases into the world. This list is for those who shake their head in wonder and disgust as friends hurry off to buy the pumpkin. A list to help you celebrate the season while forgoing the dreaded orange monster. As the leaves start to change colors and the temperature starts to drop, here are fifteen non-pumpkin fall seasonals you should give a try. 1. Abita Harvest Pecan from Abita Brewing Company Location: Abita Springs, LA Abita is well known for their Harvest series which includes ales brewed with grapefruit, strawberries, and lemon. But leave it for the autumn season, to bring out a nut of the fruit world… the pecan (and yes, a pecan is technically a fruit). Using pecans grown locally in Louisiana, this popular brown ale brings robust nuttiness and caramel malt to the fore. A perfect pairing to the changing Fall colors and a slight nip in the air. You’ll be the nut if you don’t give this seasonal a taste. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Brown Ale ABV: 5.1% IBU: 20 Hops: Willamette Malts: Pale, Munich, Biscuit, Caramel What Makes It Special: Pecans Pairings: Red meats, Gouda cheese, and why not go nuts and try it with… nuts! Suggested Glass: Flute, Snifter, Tulip, Pint Availability: Fall Seasonal 2. Harvest Ale from Long Trail Brewing Company Location: Bridgewaters Corners, VT Sweet things abound in the harvest season. We eat pies a-plenty, treats a-teeming, and candy a-copiously. Why not wash down all that sweet stuff with a beer that can match? Long Trail marks the end of the Vermont growing year with something synonymous with their state, maple syrup. There’s nothing that speaks Autumn like the warming sweet taste of maple syrup along with notes of caramel and toasted barley, add a bit of woodsy hops and at only 4.4% alcohol you could have this Auburn brew with your morning pancakes…maybe not (or MAYBE). Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Brown Ale ABV: 4.4% IBU: 18 Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: Vermont Maple Syrup Pairings: Maple Syrup Barbecued Ribs, Asiago Cheese, Chocolate Suggested Glass: Mug or Pint Availability: Fall Seasonal 3. Autumn Maple from The Bruery Location: Placentia, CA Talk about trying to pack the Fall season into a single bottle. The Bruery gives it their best shot with their Autumn Maple Spiced Ale. Brewed with a whopping 17 pounds of yams per barrel, — that’s just over half a pound of yams per gallon of beer — molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, and a round of spices, this beer goes into realms other fall seasonals can’t even imagine. And to add an extra kick of spice it’s fermented with Belgian yeast. A perfect companion for warming a cold evening or pair it up with a hardy thanksgiving meal. Imagine dipping into this thick amber ale, yams and maple sugar, maybe some raisins, vanilla, and candied sugar. Paints a pretty enticing picture doesn’t it? Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Spiced Ale ABV: 10% IBU: 15 Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: Yams, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Vanilla, Molasses, Maple Syrup Pairings: Thanksgiving Dinner in all its glory Suggested Glass: Snifter, Tulip, Mug Availability: Fall Seasonal 4. Scythe & Sickle from Ommegang Brewing Company Location: Cooperstown, NY Brewed in testament to the farmer and his yearly harvest, this beer celebrates the craft and care that goes into bringing forth sustenance from the earth. As a tribute to this humble labor Ommegang has lovingly used four different grains in this farmers brew. Oats, wheat, rye, and barley come together in this fine Belgian ale to create a beer that speaks of Fall in smooth whispers and toasty sighs. Brewed with an eye to earthly balance this amber Belgian is creamy, showing light toast and slight sweetness from the mixing of these malts, with just enough hops to balance the whole. Truly a bountiful harvest. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Biere de Garde ABV: 5.8% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: Barley, Oats, Wheat, Rye What Makes It Special: Four different grains in one brew Pairings: Barbecue, Blue Cheese, Rum Cake Suggested Glass: Tulip Availability: Fall Seasonal 5. Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company Location: Lakewood, NY Southern Tier brings a slightly different take on the Fall season with this Extra Special Bitter. This is a beer built around English hops and cracked barley to create a warm deep autumn color. You’ll swear they somehow liquefied and interred the very color of the changing leaves. The deep ruby-amber color hides a pleasant nose of roomy caramel and hops and a flavorful spiciness. A beer for those wanting to celebrate the season with a little bit more hop snap. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB) ABV: 6.7% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: It’s an Autumn ESB… like it needs another reason Pairings: Roasted venison, aged cheese, maple pudding Suggested Glass: Mug or Pint Availability: Fall Seasonal 6. Grateful Harvest Ale from Harpoon Brewing Company Location: Boston, MA If you just can’t seem to get enough of the sweet, tart flavor of cranberries around Thanksgiving maybe it’s time to drink them too. Harpoon has made a singular treat in their fall seasonal, an ale brewed with cranberries harvested just a few miles from where the Pilgrims first landed. Also, $1 from every six-pack goes to the local food bank in the area of purchase; helping all to have a beautiful Thanksgiving (in 2011 and 2012 combined they raised over $49,000). This amber ale brings subtle fruit sweetness up against a malty backbone, with a tart kick in the finish. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Fruit Ale ABV: 5.9% IBU: 30 Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: Cranberries Pairings: Thanksgiving Dinner, cream cheese, cranberry ice cream Suggested Glass: Tulip or Flute Availability: Fall Seasonal 7. The Pit & Pendulum from SweetWater Brewing Company Location: Atlanta, GA For some reason I have a tendency to think of writers like Edgar Allen Poe or Ray Bradbury when the leaves begin to transition and that cool snap is upon the air. So, this beer fits right into my thinking as a Fall libation, for beside the name it is also uses the fruit of the harvest. This ale is brewed with brettanomyces and aged on a pound of peach puree per gallon of beer! That’s a lot of peaches. For those searching a sour to fit the season this is it; combining slight funk and low peach aromas in the nose and a more substantial slightly tart peach presence in the mouth this is one to be savored. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Wild Ale ABV: 8.3% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: Aged on peaches Pairings: Gumbo, Graskaas (grass cheese), peach pie Suggested Glass: Tulip or Flute Availability: Late Summer through Fall 8. Hayride Autumn Ale from Baxter Brewing Company Location: Lewiston, ME An ale for the hayride, as the last fruits of a year’s labor are brought in and stored up for the coming cold. Baxter’s fall seasonal is in that go-between area, providing a subtle touch of warmth while being easily drinkable. It is brewed with two rye malts to give it that warming fall spiciness. More spice is then added in the form of ginger and black pepper, while conditioning on oak adds to the warming full body. It will bring a robust malt backbone, streaked with spiciness, and balanced slightly by notes of orange and tropical fruit. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Rye Ale ABV: 6.6% IBU: ? Hops: Pacifica, Pacific Jade, ? Malts: 2 different rye malts, ? What Makes It Special: Ginger, Black Pepper, Sweet Orange Peel, Cold-Conditioned on Oak Pairings: Beef Roast, Stuffed Squash, Carrot Cake Suggested Glass: Mug, Tulip or Pint Availability: Fall Seasonal 9. Ode To Mercy from Wild Heaven Brewing Company Location: Decatur, GA This is the only beer on this list that can be enjoyed any time of the year, but it truly finds its place in the Autumn season. A brown with enough heft to it to stave off that chilly evening air, allowing you to sit at the front porch just a little longer and enjoy the evening’s shifting light and the coming change. Brewed with coffee specifically blended for Ode to Mercy this beer brings aromas of light coffee roast, burnt sugar, and deep malt, which flow into flavors of sweet malt caramel, earth and wood, and of course coffee. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Brown Ale ABV: 8.2% IBU: 40 Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: Specially Blended Coffee Pairings: Barbecued chicken, Munster cheese, cheesecake Suggested Glass: Tulip or Snifter Availability: Year Round 10. Bigleaf Maple Autumn Red from Anchor Brewing Company Location: San Francisco, CA A beer with enough character depth to match even the color shifts in the giant leaves it is named for this beer will truly give you something pleasant to ponder. This fall seasonal is brewed with two caramel malts and a base pale malt to make a canvas worthy of the bigleaf maple flavor. Additions of Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Cascade hops ensure enough balancing. Copper-Red in color this beer brings a sweet malty noise and a robust malt body with hints of toast, caramel, citrus. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Amber ABV: 6% IBU: ? Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Cascade Malts: Pale 2-row, Caramel What Makes It Special: Syrup from the Bigleaf Maple Pairings: Baked Salmon, Cheddar Cheese, Maple cookies Suggested Glass: Tulip, Mug or Pint Availability: Fall Seasonal 11. Best Brown Ale from Bells Brewing Company Location: Kalamazoo, MI Brown ales really come into their own during the Fall, the depth of malt and slight nuttiness work extraordinarily well with the season. Bell brewing knows this. They’ve created in their Autumn seasonal a brown to ward the cold, yet remain drinkable and not set too heavy. This deep brown ale brings caramel and cocoa while remaining balanced by American hops. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Brown Ale ABV: 5.8% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: It’s a wise old brown Pairings: Pot Roast, Colby cheese, Almond maple cake Suggested Glass: Mug or Pint Availability: Fall Seasonal Tasting Review: Read our review on Bell’s Best Brown 12. Autumnfest from Weyerbacher Brewing Company Location: Easton, PA The scarecrows turn their slow watchful circles in the fields, pushed by a breeze gone nippy with the first signs of colder weather. Lighter beers have gotten you through the summer with their thirst quenching and refreshing qualities, but now as the year turns inward toward contemplation and deeper things you want a stepping stone, something to get you between the lightness of summer fare and the depths of the winter warmers. This is your stepping stone. The Munich and Vienna malts impart a deep complex roasted quality. Balanced, slightly fruity, this amber-colored ale will create the perfect autumn festival in your mouth. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Amber Ale ABV: 5.4% IBU: 18 Hops: Simcoe, Hallertau Malts: Vienna, Munich What Makes It Special: It’s an Octoberfest with a unique twist Pairings: Roast Chicken, Pepper jack cheese, Coconut Flan Suggested Glass: Flute or Tulip Availability: Fall Seasonal 13. Long Table from New Belgium Brewing Company Location: Fort Collins, CO This is a beer that speaks subtleties in whispers; of farm and harvest and delicate spiciness. It speaks to the family gathering, a place at the long table of celebration where there is always room for one more. It is table friendly and would adapt well to most any meal. This off-color gold farmhouse ale brings hop spiciness, Belgian funk, and a little pineapple fruitiness into a tantalizing interchange across a bready and earthy background. Sessionable for a Farmhouse. Click here to read our review of Long Table Ale. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Saison ABV: 6.2% IBU: 20 Hops: Target, Chinook, Nelson Sauvin Malts: Pale, Munich, Rye What Makes It Special: Farmhouse funk on a sessionable scale Pairings: Arugula mustard green salad topped with spicy sausage, soft goat cheese, pineapple crumble Suggested Glass: Tulip, Snifter, Large Wine Glass Availability: Fall Seasonal 14. Secret Stash Havest Ale from Flying Dog Brewing Company Location: Frederick, MD Brewed with locally sourced ingredients this simple beer is what you want after a hard day of bringing in the harvest. Local wheat and rye along with fresh cascade and chinook hops combine here to make a beer that is both quaffable and hoppy enough to keep the hopheads interested. Wheat and citrus bloom in the nose while sweet breadiness and lemon bless the palate; flows into grassy hops and a refreshingly light finish. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Saison ABV: 5.5% IBU: 45 Hops: Fresh Cascade, Fresh Chinook Malts: Local Wheat, Rye What Makes It Special: Locally sourced ingredients Pairings: Vegetable Gazpacho, Chevre cheese, Lemon Tart Suggested Glass: Tulip Availability: Fall Seasonal 15. Fuego del Otono (Autumn Fire) from Jolly Pumpkin Brewing Company Location: Dexter, MI A beer meant to catch the fleeting shift in seasonal color, Jolly pumpkin says it doesn’t start brewing this beer until they see that color change start, so it is brewed under “Autumn Fire.” Well when better to drink such a beer then in the same season, releasing some of that bright-day Autumn glow unto a friendly gathering, upon a dark fall evening. Brewed with chestnuts and other spices this beer, as with all of Jolly Pumpkins, brings the funk. Amber and caramel lay the groundwork for slight nuttiness, whispers of spice, and a tart backdrop. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Biere de Garde ABV: 6.1% IBU: 22 Hops: ? Malts: ? What Makes It Special: Chestnuts and Spices Pairings: Braised ribs, Mascarpone cheese, fresh berries Suggested Glass: Tulip Availability: Fall Seasonal There you have it. Fifteen fantastic fall seasonals that have no pumpkin in them. I fully expect that this list will generate some debate about the beers on this list, as well as the beers not on the list… So, leave me a comment down below on which fall beers you think should be added to this list. If it has no pumpkin in it, you may find it added above. Cheers!