I love pumpkin beers, and I'm not afraid to admit it. They're rich, spicy, malty, and great for fall sipping. But I know not everyone's in the mood for pumpkin everything these days. So if you're looking to drink seasonally appropriate beers without all the cinnamon and nutmeg and clove and ginger and roasted everything, crack open a bottle of these autumnal ales.
I love pumpkin beers, and I’m not afraid to admit it. They’re rich, spicy, malty, and great for fall sipping. But I know not everyone’s in the mood for pumpkin everything these days. So if you’re looking to drink seasonally appropriate beers without all the cinnamon and nutmeg and clove and ginger and roasted everything, crack open a bottle of these autumnal ales.
Seventh Son Brewing | Wilderman Autumn Farmhouse Ale | 7.6% ABV
Like many of Seventh Son’s beers, Wilderman is a hybrid of styles: part cool autumn lager, part French farmhouse beer, part hoppy ale. Named after a European fall tradition of dressing in animal costumes to hearken the coming of winter and the promise of spring, Wilderman was recently released in bottles and is served on tap at the brewery. The beer is true to the “biere de garde” (“beer for keeping”) style; Seventh Son stored the beer for a month to mellow out the flavors and balanced the additional hops with a strong malt character.
Abita Brewing Co. | Pecan Harvest Ale | 5.2% ABV | 20 IBU
Abita’s Pecan Harvest Ale flavors the brown ale style with toasted pecans. The pecan nuttiness is present more in the nose than in the mouth, but this keeps it from tasting too gimmicky and instead makes it a light and bready sipping beer. Find the Pecan Harvest Ale — as well as competitor Lazy Magnolia’s Southern Pecan ale — at local bottle shops like Crafted Drafts and Corner Stone Craft Beer & Wine.
Actual Brewing Company | Wiener-München Festival Ale| 6.3% ABV | 22 IBU
Actual has thrown its hat into the autumn beer ring. Its latest bottled brew is inspired by the Bavarian Märzen style, and thus is brewed with a mix of German malts and hops. The result is a reddish-copper brew with a thin off-white head and crisp but earthy flavors. There’s no beating Actual’s stylish label design, and Wiener-München’s label indicates the beer’s place at any outdoor party, as you savor the last grilling days of the season.
North High Brewing | Oktoberfest | 5.4% ABV | 25 IBU
Formerly called the Dirndl Dropper, North High’s take on the Oktoberfest pours a copper color and lands on the sweet side of things. It’s the ideal beer for topping off a giant beer stein. The 5.4% ABV makes it easy to knock back a couple at North High’s bar while watching a game or two. It’s also ideal for sipping while you concoct a batch of your own in their brew house.
Breckenridge Brewery| Autumn Ale | 6.7% ABV | 21 IBU
Breckenridge’s Autumn Ale is technically classified as an Old Ale, but its sweeter character is comparable to many Oktoberfests. It pours a reddish-brown with lots of tan lacing and relies on a bigger malt profile, with hints of caramel and dark fruits, and finishes dry. It’s an easy-to-like beer, and a six-pack would make a handy addition to any gathering around a campfire this fall.
That’s just a hint for those fore-going the pumpkin this autumn. There’s more fall goodness on tap and in bottles around town; look to Zauber, Smokehouse Brewing and Elevator for Oktoberfests, too!
Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at breakfastwithnick.com">breakfastwithnick.com and authored the guidebook “Breakfast With Nick: Columbus.” He’s a regular contributor to Columbus Crave, and leads breakfast tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.