The Fall Beers… It’s Time

I’m sitting here, watching the Yankees try to avoid choking their season away, while also keeping track of my Fantasy Football team.  At the same time, I’m sipping on an Allagash Black (a Belgian Style Stout).  You wouldn’t think these things would be related, but they are.

You see, it’s just about Fall.  (Or, in the beer world, it’s been fall for about 3 weeks).  The weather is getting cooler, the beer is getting heavier, boozier, and more delicious.  In fact, it’s almost Stout season (a more winter beer, but I’m kinda like the beer industry, I rush it.)  But I do like Fall beers, even though I’m a hop head.

Samuel Adams Oktoberfest:  This was the start of the craze, wasn’t it?  This malty beer, darker in hue, really sets the tone.  It’s the classic version of the Marzen beer, flavorful, but not overwhelming in malt.  You can drink it, but it’s a bit heavier, so expect a heavy stomach.

Southern Tier Harvest:  This is a new one for me.  A bitter that leans more toward a pale ale.  The hops are toned down, but they’re evident.  This is a beer you can drink all day long, as the leaves are falling around you.  This is a tasty, tasty beer.  Delicious.  Highly recommend tracking this one down.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler:  A traditional Brown Ale.  Not hoppy, and heavier.  Another very drinkable beer.  Perfect for a football Sunday.
But, you ask, what about the millions of pumpkin beers out there?  Not for me.  I don’t love flavoring my beer that way.  I can try one or two, but if it’s not sessionable, it’s not for me.  The flavor overwhelms me.  Dogfish puts together a good one, but that’s about the only one I’ve had.

Pumpkin isn’t for beer, it’s more for coffee… and even that’s pushing it.


Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I’m a HopHead.  A big time, give me a Pale Ale or a BIG IPA hophead.  I love the taste of hops, that crazy sweet citrus flavor mixed with that bitter finish.  I find it so refreshing.

So, last year, when Sierra Nevada broke out their Hoptimum beer, I was all over it.  It came in 750 ml bottles.  Apparently it sold pretty well, so this year they released it in four packs.  And I got me some.

The label says it’s a whole cone Imperial IPA, which I guess means they use the entire hop when they make the stuff.

Works for me.

The first thing I noticed when I poured it was its lighter color.  The Hop Manna from the other day was darker.  This is crisp and clear and looks more refreshing.  Don’t fall for Hoptimum’s tricks.  Looks are deceiving.  This is a BIG beer.

The scent is full of citrus, maybe grapefruit, maybe tangerine.  Mixed with some pine.  You’re walking through the forest and garden of beer again here.  And Hoptimum is behind you, waiting for you to let your guard down.

The first sip is sweet, the citrus coming through.  And then comes the burn.  The 10.4% alcohol burn.  It’s there, sitting on the back of your tongue, taking you out of your comfort zone.  Lulling you to drink more.  This is like doing a shot of beer.

And then wanting another.

Hoptimum is the Femme Fatale of beers.  It seduces you with its looks and scent and even that first taste.  But then it burns you.  Knocks you down.  Gains your attention and twists the knife into you.

It’s a strong beer.  One that will trick you into thinking you’re breaking into a night of drinking and hanging out with friends.

The problem is, this is the kind of beer you’re only supposed to drink one of.  But you’re addicted, you want more.  Because it’s so good, you can’t turn it away.

Hoptimum is coming for you.

And even though you know you’re going to be punished for it, you just can’t say no.

Pick this beer up the second you see it.