Issue 30

Fall Beers to Consider

Fall Beers to Consider

Soon we will be in the last gasps of the hot and humid summer, a time I loathe – mainly because I can’t stand very many of the light summer seasonal beers that are released during this time.

I like to drink good beers, but I don’t like to look like a pretentious twit. I drink mostly darker beers all year round so, when I show up at a BBQ with a six pack of porters I look like, well, a pretentious twit. So the coming of fall is a relief to me as I can start to fit in a bit more and the level of being comfortable that I personally desire returns. There are still moments when one has to suck it up for the sake of having a good-tasting beer. One of my friends advised that I look into places like Your Beer Friend, where I could buy a beer subscription and sample a variety of beers. I might give it a shot soon.

I remember a couple of years back when I was attending the Big 12 Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. I decided that tailgating with a couple of six packs of marked-down, out-of-season Oktoberfests would be a lot better than the Bud and Miller Light I was bound to find in the stadium’s beer tents or snagging from fellow Huskers. So I grabbed the two most accessible German ‘fests, Spaten and Paulaner, and headed to the game. Of course I felt like a tool walking around the grounds with the six pack in my hand while getting those looks of “oh, that guy thinks he is so cool”. Using various heating packs, and devices to try to keep the beers from getting ice cold did not help my cause much either. The alternative though would have been much less enjoyable.

So, because it’s not quite the season, getting in the mindset of fall beers requires using what little bit of memory capacity I have left, and some notes I have from last year. There are also some year round beers that fit nicely into the fall season that deserved a fresh tasting today.

The one thing I really look forward to in the fall is the pumpkin beer. Many beer lovers abhor them, but I adore pumpkin beers. The most common one on the market is Blue Moon’s pumpkin beer which is now generically referred to as Harvest Moon. The beer itself started tasting pretty generic as well last year. One day last winter at The Homy Inn I noticed a pumpkin beer in their stash of cool beers and had the bartender pour one up for me. It’s was Buffalo Bills Pumpkin Beer, and while really light in body, it had that taste I was craving and a lot more of it than the Blue Moon version ever had. Not a great beer by any means, but we have so few available on the market here. This fall I will be heading over to Beertopia hoping that an option with a stronger body is available through them.

The great fall beer tradition is of course the Oktoberfests that happen around this country that originated in Munich. The festival runs from late September to early October and Omaha has a few weekend-long events that celebrate this German tradition. The one that I enjoy going to the most is at Gerda’s Bakery, in Midtown, partially because it is easy for me to stumble home from there, and partially because it feels like the most authentic in town. The Crescent Moon also has a large Oktoberfest every year. The three German Oktoberfest beers that are easy to get around this area are from Spaten, Ayinger, and Paulaner. These dry and refreshing beers will usually appear amber in color and are focused more on a malty, caramel flavor. You are not going to go wrong with any of those three. In regards to American versions of the beer Sam Adam’s brews up a fine Oktoberfest that is extremely drinkable, if not too drinkable.

I like to start drinking the nut brown beers in the late fall when the weather really starts to get crisp. We have an excellent nut brown brewed locally by The Nebraska Brewing Company that one can find on tap at many of Omaha’s finer bars. One of my favorites and one that is universally praised across the board is Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. Depending on how good your nose is, you will find many different scents and tastes among this dark amber ale. It’s a heavy beer that is quite filling and perfect for those cooler nights when you are just starting to use the fireplace. Another favorite is Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar which can be found in large bombers around the city. Rogue’s take on the style, has a hint of chocolate and coffee to it which are two of my favorite aroma’s whether it reside in beer or wine.

On the early side of the fall, or in the late summer, Saison’s are the way to go. The Saison was originally used to keep harvesters in Belgium refreshed throughout the day. The Saison Dupont from Belgium’s Brasserie Dupont is one of the more accessible versions of this beer in town. It is also one of if not the best rated Saison’s in the world. The hazy beer tastes of citrus and other fruits and is very carbonated. It’s a refreshing beer that in all reality can be consumed all year long and has become one of my spring and summer standby’s when the winter and dark beers start looking a little out of place at Jazz On The Green and Shakespeare In The Park.

Marq Manner

Marq Manner

MarQ Manner is a fan of Americana. He is interested in small town cafe's, roadside BBQ, getting a hotdog from a stand made in the likeness of George Washington, and the grittier eating atmospheres found in out of the way places. MarQ has been writing about the local music scene for The Omaha City Weekly for the past five years and has also written music features for many other rags and blogs.

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