Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Craft Beer Picks and a Giveaway

It's fall and with the crisp cooler weather I wave adeiu to IPA's and welcome back my favorite Pumpkin Spiced Ales. You gotta have a reason to look forward to every season and I always look forward to wrapping my lips around some pumpkin beer!

This year I decided to wrap up my favorites and collaborate with fellow beer blogger Joel from Fermented Reality. I met him a while ago on twitter. He sure knows his beer, but what really got my attention is some of his t-shirts. Especially his Hip Hop t-shirt. I begged for him to make them as ladies fitted tees and he did!! YAY!

Available for both men and women, I asked him about doing a giveaway on my blog and he gladly obliged, so now YOU have a chance to win one of these awesome t-shirts! I got one and LOOOOVE it! Sometimes you get a t-shirt and don't expect much, but the quality on this t-shirt is great and I love the design!

If you cannot wait for your chance to win... you can buy a shirt here.

---------> See the bottom of the post to enter to win a shirt!

My top 10 Fall Beers

These are in no particular order. These are the 10 I like the most out of all that I have drank so far and believe me, I have drank a lot of pumpkin beer all in the name of product research.... (ummm sure!)

1- Southern Tier Pumpking
Imperial Pumpkin Ale ABV 8.6%
Stars 5/5 

This is ALWAYS my top pick for pumpkin beer- seriously. What makes it is a nice malty flavor, pumpkin and then you are floored with this incredible rush of spices, the most wonderfully delicious spices and then you are left with a perfect afterglow of vanilla left in your mouth. It is literally as if you drank liquid pumpkin pie with alcohol! YES!

That said, I must warn you, I drank Pumpking from this year and it is not the same at all. I think they changed the recipe or something. I am GREATLY disappointed! I always look forward to this beer and sadly this year I was totally let down. If you can find bottles from last year, drink it! Overall it is STILL a good beer, but I just liked it better last year.

Bottom Line: This may be THE best pumpkin beer ever, but maybe not just this year (crosses fingers).

Southern Tier Warlock
Imperial Stout Brewed with Pumpkin and Spices
Stars 4.5/5

If you're a stout drinker this bad boy is for you. Not just a stout, but this is an imperial stout- booo yeah! It packs in a TON of flavor and with a high ABV (Alcohol By Volume). You get lots of sweet sweet maltiness and sooo much awesome spice with that splendid vanilla finish that Southern Tier has perfected. That shit should be patented or something.

Bottom Line: This is like the sweet nectar of pumpkin pie injected into a boozy stout.

21st Amendment Brewing Company & Elysian Brewing Company He Said
Baltic Porter
Stars 4/5 

This is a beautiful collaboration between 21st Amendment and Elysian, which if you know craft beer, are two of the most innovative breweries. This is sold in a 4 pack of 2 brews. One if a Pumpkin Tripel and then there is this Pumpkin Baltic Porter. Warning, this ain't cheap, a 4 pack will run you like $12. The Tripel is good, but the stand out for me was the porter. What I liked mostly was the creativity of it. Usually a pumpkin ale is a simple ale with some spices and pumpkin, I liked they went for a much different style of beer that worked really well with this. The maltiness lends sweetness, but not overwhelmingly sweet and slightly chocolatey notes that balanced real well with the spices and pumpkin.

Bottom Line: Give this creative pumpkin beer a go! It will take you on the malty pumpkin train.

Flying Dog Brewery The Fear
Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Stars 4.5/5

I had this for the first time this year and I was shocked I had never tried it. Flying Dog has some great beers and this one solidified that sentiment for me. It is rich malty, sweet with some nice spices in the mix.

Bottom Line: Spicetasticly punch in the face

5- Weyerbacker Brewing Company Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Imperial Pumpkin Ale 
Stars 4/5

If you aren't familiar with the term imperial, it doesn't mean it is fancy or from nobility. It basically means they double the recipe normally used for the beer, thus resulting in higher alcohol content and more concentrated flavor. You know I liked to be smacked in the face with flavor so I am all about the imperial ales! This one is nicely spiced and had a good pumpkin flavor. Totally perfect for fall and jumping in the crunchy leaves.

Bottom Line: Sip while pumpkin picking or baking a pumpkin pie, it will heighten the experience.

Image from Saucony Creek Brewing Company

6- Saucony Creek Brewing Company Captain Pumpkin's Maple Mistress
Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Stars 4/5
This beer is serious. Lots of spices and pretty sweet, packs a punch like the name suggests. They added butternut squash and maple syrup as well to bring a more fall focused flavor. Sadly I found out we do not get this in NY. But keep a look out for this beer, it is super awesomely fall!

Bottom Line: This is fall perfection in a glass, perfect to drink after you finished raking the leaves, you earned this bitch!

Dogfish Head Brewing Company Punkin
Pumpkin Ale ABV 7%
Stars 4/5 

This is a classic. A much beloved by all craft beer drinkers. For me, it is good and nicely spiced. I actually prefer more spice and I prefer imperial pumpkins. If you haven't already figured it out... subtlety ain't my thing. But overall this is one solid pumpkin beer and easy drinking and it really isn't subtle, I just miss the vanilla notes.

Bottom Line: If you don't need to be punched in the mouth with pumpkin pie this is a good one for you.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company Leaf Pile Ale
Pumpkin Ale ABV 5.2%
Stars 4.25/5 

This girl had to choose at least one local pumpkin she loved ans this is a fave! It never disappoints, year after year. Consistency is key in craft beer, you do not wanna disappoint your die hard fans. So this has been a local fall favorite for some time!

Bottom Line: It's wonderfully spiced and beautifully balanced- put it in your mouth!

Heavy Seas Brewing Great'ER Pumpkin Ale
Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale ABV 9.5%
Stars 4.5/5 

Yo ho ho - this is one pumpkin beer with BALLS! It packs a serious punch being aged in bourbon barrels. This is one malty mofo with lots of caramel and vanilla notes, though you get a boozy and bitter aftertaste. But whilst it's in your mouth, of boy you're in for a treat!

Bottom Line: Pumpkin beer has never been so ballsy- can you handle it?

Steven's Point Brewery  Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale
Pumpkin Ale
Stars 4/5
This to me is your traditional pumpkin ale, definite pumpkin flavor and the spices we all love! It is a great example of a nicely balanced pumpkin ale. This one is perfect to drink when making a pumpkin pie or carving a jack-o-lantern.

Bottom Line: This is a great jumping off point into the pool of pumpkin ale.

Fermented Reality's Picks  

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Tampa Bay Brewing Co - Reef Donkey
American Pale Ale
Stars 4
Citrus and grapefruit dominate this awesome, aromatic Pale Ale. Also, these guys just medaled at the GABF for the American Pale Ale category! Congrats to our friends over at Tampa Bay Brewing Co!

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Sixpoint - Sensi
American Pale Ale
Stars 3.75
Drink NOW! This is their wet hop APA with a really intense dank and sticky profile without being overly bitter. Not sure if they will continue with this beer next year or not. Snatch it up now while you can.

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Clown Shoes - Hoppy Feet
American Black Ale (Black IPA)
Stars 4
Chocolatey but bitter, like taking a bite of one of those 72% cacao chocolate bars. I'll be honest when I say I expected something more bitter, but the intense chocolate notes are surprisingly delicious.

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Sierra Nevada - Narwhal
Russian Imperial Stout
Stars 4
A high ABV, turbocharged stout with bitter chocolate flavors. Not too heavy, but a seriously dark beer. This beer would be fun to cellar every year and do verticals of in the future.

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Sierra Nevada - Celebration Ale
American IPA
Stars 3.5
It should be hitting shelves soon! Keep an eye out for this classic American IPA - a real holiday treat. This is one of the original American IPAs that Sierra Nevada has been making for a long time.

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Dogfish Head - Indian Brown Ale
American Brown Ale
Stars 4.25
This is hands down my favorite brown ale. Bitter and sharp, but a smooth malty backbone. Sometimes I pick up some of the alcohol vapors on the nose, but also floral plus chocolate. World class!

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Einstok (Einstök Ölgerð) - Icelandic Toasted Porter
American Porter
Stars: 4.25
This is hands down my favorite porter right now. The "toasty" flavors you get are intense! Coffee flavors are present, along with a little chocolate.

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Uinta - Baba Black Lager
Style: Schwarzbier
Stars: 4
An incredibly dark, yet totally drinkable black lager. It's a great session ale too with a not-too-big 4% ABV. I really haven't ever had anything bad from Uinta, they hit it out of the park with this one.

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Cigar City Brewing - Cubano Espresso
English Brown Ale
Stars: 4.25
Coffee, coffee, coffee! Really looking forward to the next release for the fall ... should be available in 4 packs very soon! Get them while they're hot because they never last very long.

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Dogfish Head - 90 Minute
American Imperial IPA
Stars: 4.5
This beer is a year-round favorite for me, but in the colder weather, it really gives a nice warm feeling in the chest. A world class Imperial IPA that's close to the best $10 I can spend on beer.

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