Pumpkin and Oktoberfest Beers Aplenty Have Arrived!
The leaves are changing colors, the temperature is dropping, and I’m getting an extra 15 yards roll on my tee shots... it must be Fall! While I myself am an equal opportunity beer drinker and believe each season has its merits, most people agree that Fall beers are some of the best of the year! There’s pumpkin beers, Oktoberfests, and stouts filling the shelves at Creekside Beer, and here’s a few I think you should try while you can:
Fun fact: I was actually supposed to be in Munich at Oktoberfest as I write this. And though Covid postponed those plans, I can certainly drink like I would be in Germany thanks to the fine folks at Cinderlands! According to the brewery, “Gentle floral, herbal noble hop aroma is backed up by bready, honey, slightly toasty premium Germant malt flavors. Medium-bodied and malt-dominant; a sturdy beer for the harvest season. Deep golden and bright.” Danville Train clocks in at 6.2% ABV and currently holds a 3.69/5 on Untappd.
Another fun fact: Atomic Pumpkin was the very first craft beer I ever bought! My birthday is September 20th, so when I turned 21 my junior year of college, fall beers were very much in season. I knew I liked Fat Tire (don’t ask me how I knew that when I was underage), so I grabbed a six pack of Atomic Pumpkin since it was the same brand. I didn’t bother to read the label and was VERY confused why my mouth was burning with every sip. Lo and behold, this brew features habanero seed in addition to the pumpkin! And it’s been my favorite pumpkin beer ever since. According to the brewers, “this seasonal ale is anything but ordinary. Infused with habanero peppers for a spicy surprise, it starts with low sweetness and moves directly into a low bitterness and finishes with a touch of sourness. Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cookie malt as well.” It’s 6.4% ABV and currently has a 3.62/5 on Untappd.
Now that you’ve heard a little bit about these brews, what do I think of them?
Cinderlands Danville Train Festbier
Look: This beer pours a beautiful orange color. It’s clear (a change of pace!) and features a frothy, but quickly dissipating, head.
Smell: I’m smelling notes of honey and malt. No hop aromas to speak of, giving me visions of a big tent, bratwurst, and lederhosen.
Taste: Very malty and with a touch of the breadiness they mentioned. It’s crisp, clean, and very drinkable. I’d call it medium-bodied and definitely quite tasty!
Thoughts: Cinderlands always hits the nail on the head with their brews. I’ve yet to find myself disappointed with a beer I’ve had from them and this one is no exception. Prost!
Tyler’s Rating: 4.5/5
New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale
Look: Very clear and light orange in color. This beer has a pretty slight, fizzy head that disappears quickly.
Smell: You can smell the spice immediately! Cinnamon, pumpkin, and clove are also present, but the habanero is what hits me first. Maybe because I’m expecting it now.
Taste: Just as good as the first time I had it while pregaming my first trip to the fabled Phyrst in State College! The sweetness from the pumpkin dominates upfront, but by the finish, the spicy tingle is running the show.
Thoughts: Maybe it’s nostalgia, but this is still my favorite seasonal beer in my favorite season for beer. Some consider New Belgium too big to be craft, but I’m no hipster! Give me this one again and again in the Fall!
Tyler’s Rating: 4.75/5