As autumn falls upon us, local craft breweries present us with their finest autumn-inspired brews. To provide you with a comprehensible guide to select your go-to beer for the season, I’ve evaluated five seasonals by their aroma, colour, taste, and mouthfeel then assigned each with an overall score out of five so you can decide what will work best for your tastebuds.
First we have Russell Brewing’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale. (Spoiler alert: many of these beers include pumpkin.) The dark amber-coloured beer provides us with a mainly nutty aroma with a spritz of pumpkin. Surprisingly there wasn’t much pumpkin in the taste, but the beer was quite malty and finished with a fair amount of spice. The mouthfeel was a good middle ground between rich and light, but still had a slight velvety slide down my throat. Overall this beer was decent. It didn’t live up to the pumpkin promise in the title but still granted a fall-like feeling.
Second was Steamworks Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale. It is a simple name for a comfortable beer. It gave off a spicy and inviting aroma, begging me to try it. The beer’s colour was a pale amber, lighter than Russell’s. Tastewise Steamworks did not fail to supply pumpkin flavours, and, to accompany the pumpkin was notes of ginger and molasses. And its mouthfeel was fairly light but well carbonated. I would recommend this beer for a late, sunny afternoon because it is not heavy at all and makes one feel like it will always be warm and cosy sweater weather.
The Ghost Rider Pumpkin Brown Ale by Fernie Brewing Co. came next. What first brought me to purchase this beer was the exciting name. And what drew me to it was the slight smoky and spicy aroma. This one was very similar to Russell Brewing’s with its dark amber complexion and mild pumpkin taste, but Fernie gave this one some delightful notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. The mouthfeel was full and velvety without being heavy. This complex concoction is a great dessert brew for the fall months.
Red Racer’s Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ale was fourth on the list. Maybe my nose wasn’t working to its full potential at the time but I did not smell much from this beer, but the enticing flavours made up for the lack of smell. This beer was a liquid form of what Thanksgiving and Christmas’ offspring would be like. Imagine you’re in the kitchen making snickerdoodles with grandma. Then make that whole image and atmosphere into a beer and Red Racer’s Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ale is what you’ve got. There were also hints of warm apple to compliment the snickerdoodle taste; my mouth was full of apple pie and snickerdoodles with this brew. This toasted light brown beer had a crisp mouthfeel and would be great for anytime of the day, during fall or winter.
Lastly, I experienced Parallel 49’s Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter. This deep brown beer had no specific overpowering scents, just a slightly malty aroma. When first tasted, it was acidic but quickly turned into a deep chocolate flavour, with a limited pumpkin taste. Even though I’m not one to favour dark beers, this one was so smooth and easy I had to ask for more.
Even though I only selected five fall-inspired beers, there’s plenty more to be tasted from the Fraser Valley and beyond. And keep in mind, these ratings may not be true to everyone, so kick off your shoes and veg out with a calming autumn brew this season to see what tickles your taste buds.
Image: Carissa Wiens