Written by 12:17 pm 2019, Fall, Food and Drink

Craft Beers to Drink This Season

From an easy-drinking IPA to a rich bourbon-barrel stout, we’ve got you covered with a range of regionally made beers to drink this fall. 

SweetWater Brewing Company Guide Beer
With SweetWater Brewing Company co-founder Freddy Bensch being an avid angler and surfer, the long-standing, Atlanta-based brewery has crafted outdoor-minded beer styles since opening in the mid-1990s. But recently the brewery sought the direct input of paddling, fishing and skiing guides to create the ultimate post-adventure beer. The resulting Guide Beer is a crisp lager featuring a light and refreshing body and hints of spice from a noble hop blend that comes in at an extremely drinkable four percent alcohol by volume (ABV). 

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 
Craft pioneer Sierra Nevada—which has an East Coast home in the mountains of western North Carolina—means business when it comes to celebrating Oktoberfest. This year Sierra teamed up with Germany’s venerable Bitburger Brewery to create an amber festbier that goes above and beyond the normal homage to tradition. For the first time, Bitburger—a 200-year-old, family-owned brewery—shared both its custom yeast and secret hop blend, a kind, collaborative gesture that enabled Sierra’s brewers to make an authentic beer worthy of your favorite stein and pair of lederhosen. 

O’Connor Brewing Company Great Dismal Black IPA
Made to honor the wildlife refuge in O’Connor’s backyard that sits on the eastern Virginia/North Carolina line, this beer combines the malt-forward body of a stout with the hoppy bite of an IPA. Just right for those who don’t want to fully commit to the richness of a dark beer, the Great Dismal Black IPA has notes of coffee and molasses balanced by piney hop character, as well as refreshing hints of citrus. 

O’Connor Brewing Company Great Dismal Black IPA
Made to honor the wildlife refuge in O’Connor’s backyard that sits on the eastern Virginia/North Carolina line, this beer combines the malt-forward body of a stout with the hoppy bite of an IPA. Just right for those who don’t want to fully commit to the richness of a dark beer, the Great Dismal Black IPA has notes of coffee and molasses balanced by piney hop character, as well as refreshing hints of citrus. 

Blue Mountain Brewery Dark Hollow
Bourbon drinkers take notice: When the autumn chill strikes, warm your insides with this dark, flavorful barrel-aged stout, which is made in the Blue Ridge Mountains and has become a coveted favorite in Virginia and beyond. Dark Hollow is aged for 100 days in charred American oak barrels still wet with uncut whiskey, resulting in a rich and complex Imperial Stout that mingles the bourbon flavor with layered hints of coffee, plum and vanilla. Really, though, the oak aging gives each batch a slightly different character; but one constant is the beer’s boozy comfort, a given at 10 percent ABV. 

Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty Lo-Cal IPA
Drinking a Lo-Cal beer might sound like a waste of time, but Dogfish Head manages to pack an impressive amount of flavor in a session beer that only has 95 calories per can. The hop profile is impressively tropical and fruity—what you’d expect from a much higher-gravity IPA—but the body is light and refreshing. At just four percent ABV, it’s perfect for sipping after a long run or a ride with the local bike club. 

Starr Hill Brewery Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale
A beer made for those with a bit of a sweet tooth, Last Leaf updates a classic English Brown Ale with the addition of Virginia maple syrup. The expected sweetness is certainly present but a complex malt bill balances the flavor, offering notes of vanilla, caramel and nuts. With a smooth body that tastes less boozy than its 6.1 percent ABV, it’s an easy beer to knock back by a fireplace on a cold fall night. Last Leaf is available in bottles and also likely on draft at Starr Hill’s three taproom locations—Crozet, Roanoke and Richmond—in Virginia. A new Charlottesville outpost opens next year.    

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