5 Local Craft Beers You Need to Try This Fall
Westchester is home to a host of craft breweries, and they’re on a mission to make fall the season to believe in.
Fall is that magical time of year when people break out their jackets, the leaves change color, and beer takes a chewy, spicy turn for the dark. Seasonals are nothing new to the craft beer world, but every year there is a challenge to come up with something new or improve upon last year’s brew. This year, some of Westchester’s finest brewing operations have outdone themselves to create a bevy of beers you’ll be happy to savor all through sweater weather.
Autumn Blaze, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company – 5%
Let’s start out with one of the heavy-hitters. Captain Lawrence in Elmsford has released their quintessential pumpkin beer, Autumn Blaze. A malty ale brewed with puréed pumpkin right in the mash, this beer has notes of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon that basically make it liquid pumpkin pie. (Mind you, a 5% ABV liquid pumpkin pie.)
Tiny Acorn, Plan Bee Farm Brewery – 4.5%
While this Poughkeepsie farm-based brewing company also has a pumpkin offering — (Honey Pumpkin Lover: fire-roasted pumpkin and honey, aged and beautifully dark at 7%) — Tiny Acorn is their masterpiece. Originally released last year, this “wild ale” is light and tart, and with flavors of acorn squash, lemongrass, coriander, and wild carrot seed it manages to be distinctly autumnal without jumping entirely onto the pumpkin spice bandwagon. It’s sold on tap in their tasting tent and is available to take home in 1.5 liter magnum bottles, perfect for sharing around the dinner table.
photo courtesy of Broken Bow brewery
Nick’s Hazelnut Praline Porter, Broken Bow Brewery – 8%
Tuckahoe’s Broken Bow Brewery has created a heady, cold-weather potable as satisfying as hot chocolate. Described as “a velvety winter seasonal,” it’s actually perfect for crisp fall evenings at the table or around a fire in the backyard. It’s smooth and bitter, with a taste of cocoa upfront and a nutty finish. Traditionalists will also enjoy the brew that inspired the family-owned brewery: Pumpkin Spiced Oktoberfest. A nice, malty lager with biscuit and toffee notes, at 6.5% it’s a solid choice if Nick’s is a little too ‘hazelnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire’ for your autumn.
Bonus Round: Bog Smash, Bronx Brewery – 7%
Alright, it’s technically cheating, but we’d be remiss not to give you a heads-up as to this local-ish brewery’s cranberry-tinted pale ale. Taken directly from New York State bogs, tart cranberries provide a balance to this beer’s maltiness and sweetness without taking all the attention for themselves. It’s hard to come by outside of the Bronx, but if you’re taking a trip down to that neck of the woods (or up to Connecticut: you can snag some at a couple locations in Danbury and Stamford), it’s definitely worth picking up a few “Boogie Down” variety twelve-packs for this can alone. Bog Smash is only available through October, though, so grab them now to save this cranberry goodness for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Faire Scarborough Farmhouse Saison, Six Degrees of Separation
Ossining’s own “farm brewery,” Six Degrees keeps their brews as local as possible. In addition to their requisite spiced pumpkin ale (made with locally grown pumpkins, of course), Six Degrees also taps this remarkably complex saison. Multiple strains of yeast and a whole rack’s worth of spices give it a flavor profile that’s hard to pin down exactly, but it unmistakably autumnal in its nature.
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