Keeping your customers engaged is a key element in creating a successful craft beer program at your bar or restaurant. Frequent rotation of your beer lineup to ‘tap’ into seasonal offerings is an excellent way to keep the guest engaged and coming back. “Variety is the spice of life”–so spice up your lineup with some great seasonal offerings this Fall.
1. Pumpkin Beer
Let’s start with the obvious: Pumpkin Beers–every year more craft brewers jump into the season with beers featuring pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices. It makes sense, as pumpkin is associated with harvest and fall. The pumpkin itself may not lend a lot of flavor to beer, so more pumpkin beers focus on the spices associated with pumpkin pie; Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and the like. Here are 5 excellent examples that would look great on any beer list: Dogfish Head Punkin, Southern Tier Pumking, Elysian Great Pumpkin, Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela, and Howe Sound Pumpkin Eater.
2. Oktoberfest Beer (Bier)
Equally as obvious is the Oktoberfest beer. Originally held in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig, the traditional Oktoberfest celebration lasts from Mid September through the 1st Sunday in October. Only beer brewed within the city of Munich can be served during the celebration; the official Oktoberfest breweries are Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu München, Paulaner, Augustiner, Spaten, and Löwenbräu. All of these but Löwenbräu are available in North America. If you want to go local, many craft breweries in the US and Canada brew their own versions, including Avery, Samuel Adams, and Brooklyn Brewing.
3. Fresh Hop Ales
A more recent trend among craft brewers is the fresh hop or wet hop beer. Fresh hops are taken from the hop farm and sent directly to the breweries, before the usual process of drying. This imparts an earthiness and floral character that can be lost through the drying process. Since the hops contain much more liquid than dried hops, larger amounts are added to the kettle. Some of the top fresh hop beers include Port Brewing High Tide, Sierra Nevada Harvest (both Estate and Northern Hemisphere), Deschutes Hop Trip, Surly Wet, and Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale.
4. Brown Ales
Another style ‘ripe’ for fall is the ubiquitous brown ale. There’s nothing like a malty brown ale on a cool Autumn day. There are many variations within the brown style; Northern English versions tend to be darker, maltier, even nutty, while Southern English browns tend to be lower in alcohol and slightly sweeter. American brown ales lean towards a hoppier, more bitter finish. You can’t go wrong with any these great beers; Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, Alesmith Nut Brown, Sierra Nevada Tumbler, Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale, or Avery Ellies Brown.
5. Biere de Garde
While these are fairly common to most beer drinkers, one of my favorite Fall styles is the Biere de Garde, which translates as ‘beer for keeping’. Traditionally brewed during the winter and spring, the Biere de Garde is a strong pale ale stored for consumption later in the year. Notable examples of the style include Lost Abbey Avant Garde, Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza, Brasserie Castelain St Amand, Two Brothers Brewing Company’s Domaine DuPage, and New Belgium Biere de Mars
Summer is waning and the days are getting progressively shorter; Vacations are done and the kids are back in school–While many epitomize summer as “beer drinking season” it’s clear to see that the true craft beer connoisseur has a cornucopia of gustatory adventures at their very fingertips during the cool autumn months. Cheers!