Top 10 Seasonal Brews
Halloween evening. For some it’s the arrival of the pumpkin spice latte, but for beer lovers the release of autumn seasonal brews brings a whole new way to celebrate the season. What’s a better way to enjoy the spectacular fall coloured leaves than with a seasonal beer in your hand? The LCBO and Beer Store really make an effort to provide seasonal beverages that are perfect to enjoy as the leaves begin to fall. They make it easy to find a variety of beers to help celebrate the arrival of fall from pumpkin infused ales to harvest inspired crafts.
We explore the top 10 seasonal brews available at the LCBO or Beer Store this fall:
Muskoka Brewery takes pride in creating crafts using premium ingredients inspired by the heart of cottage country. This Harvest Ale has traditional raw flavours creating a timeless robust taste. The beer even smells like a fresh cut harvest. The taste arcs from a malty start, with complex earthy undertones, to a hoppy and bitter finish. There is also a piney note to the beer; reminiscent of the region this brewery calls home. The dark amber ale is a great colour for this strong beer. Additionally it holds a strong head while drinking. This beer is truly a pioneer way to celebrate the end of the season harvest.
For the lovers of hops, this beer is the perfect fall melody. Toronto-based Amsterdam Brewery made an effort to create an autumn brew with fresh hops from local Collingwood, Ontario. They used these hops the same day to ensure optimal freshness. The brewery utilized a wet hopping technique to highlight a variety of hops called Cascade, known for being particularly floral. The result is a tangy, and citrusy infusion combined with fall spices. The beer finishes with a crisp bite at the end. Autumn Hop is perfect for a fall day that still has a bit of the summer heat lingering.
These two beers come in a combo six pack, providing an opportunity to experience two very different flavours of fall. The creatively named Nightmare on Mill St. evokes Halloween flair with this hazy red coloured ale. This pumpkin ale stands out because its plays on the flavours of pumpkin pie rather than just pumpkin. While drinking this beer you can taste all the spices that go into the making of a pumpkin pie: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. These spices blended together with a robust malt backbone create a very smooth pumpkin ale. Mill St. Oktoberfest takes a lighter approach to the fall harvest than most beers. The seasonal flavours are still there but not as bitter. This beer would appeal to the type of people who are not a fan of really hoppy beers but still want a taste of the harvest. While drinking there are heavy caramel notes mixed with a taste of yeast and barely.
This brew has become a staple for many drinkers of Oktoberfest inspired beers each season. A friend of mine who swears by this Boston brewery recommended the Samuel Adam’s Octoberfest to me. Our American neighbors bring us a malt beer with heavy caramel components making it really easy to drink. It has bready undertones with just a hint of sweetness. This seasonal beer is great for those just starting to delve into the variety of Oktoberfest inspired beers available during this season.
There is a sensational maple scent right as you pop off the cap, a sweetness you are guaranteed to savor. This maple ale combines crystal malt, roasted barely and real Quebec maple syrup to create a brew you could basically pour over pancakes. There is a mixture of nutty malt flavours, nutmeg and cinnamon, but the most obvious flavour is the sugary sweetness of maple syrup. As you move through the taste profiles of this beer the maple rolls off the back of your tongue at every stage. This deep syrupy coloured beer has a high bubbly finish leaving you with a sugary aftertaste. The maple brew is a must try this season, being a very Canadian way to celebrate the coming chilly months.
As one of the oldest craft breweries in Ontario, Great Lakes Brewery has mastered the craft of creating flavorful beers. When poured this beer displays a cloudy orange hue and oozes a strong nutmeg scent. Even though it is a pumpkin ale, don’t expect an overwhelming pumpkin flavour. The pumpkin aspect takes a backseat and focuses more on the seasonal spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and all spice. The beer is easy to drink with a faint hop finish. Additionally there are malty caramel details with a slight spicy infusion. When tasting this beer it starts with the pumpkin pie spices and ends on a light crisp note. This brew is definitely one of the best pumpkin ales available at the LCBO.
Hailing from Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Beau’s has created an Oktoberfest mix pack to celebrate the harvest. Included in this pack is Weiss O’Lantern, a delicious wheat beer that takes a different approach to fall brews. This pumpkin-infused beer is very fizzy with a ginger and orange smell. The wheat aspect leaves a thicker taste in your mouth as well. The beer contains pumpkin and clove elements with lemongrass and gingery components that are intertwined to create a citrusy taste. With a very uplifting finish, it is not as heavy as other autumn inspired beers. The pumpkin and citrus mix creates an uplifting zip making for a refreshing fall beverage. Also included in this Oktoberfest mix pack are the other great seasonal brews Haters Gonna Hate, Boghopper and Boom Gose the Dynamite.
This beer is nitrogen charged in order to pour a thick and foamy head, giving the beer a strong creamy appearance. Don’t let the dark colour throw you off; this beer has a very smooth finish making it definitely worth a try this season. The Vanilla Porter gives a good balance between sweet and savory notes, with roasted malt tastes incorporated. It would be great after dinner beer to sip on, and is best served cold. The vanilla and chocolaty aspects of the beer are obvious, but there are also coffee and toffee undertones.
Creemore Springs recommends that you enjoy this festive brew with traditional German snacks such as pretzels, schnitzel, sausages and sauerkraut. They seemed to create this beer in order for you to experience your own little German celebration this autumn. The brewery boasts utilizing small batch brews in order to enhance complexity and flavour. The result with this beer is a heavy tasting barely and grainy beer with a slight hoppy finish. This one is not as earthy as most Oktoberfest beers and takes a lighter approach to the festive brewing season.
With autumn bringing the ripening of apples, the inclusion of this apple ale is a must. Crazy Beard Wild Apple is a cross between cider and beer, as it contains a fair amount of malt ingredients. The powerful smell of green apples hit you as soon as you crack open the can. This beer has a sweet and sour taste reminiscent of a granny smith. The malt ingredients cut a lot of the sweetness though, making it not as sugary as your typical cider. This brew is a crazy but interesting take on the beer and cider crossover. If you are looking for ciders to try this fall I recommend the crafts Thornbury Premium Apple Cider or Pommies Farmhouse Cider.
As the autumn continues to roll in many other breweries will be releasing their own seasonal sippers. Keep an eye out for more seasonal brews soon to be hitting your nearest LCBO or Beer Store!