When it comes to summer, you know our thoughts. It’s hard to find fault with beach days, road trips, long and leisurely outdoor hangs, and all the refreshing drinks from crisp kolsches to tart margaritas. However, unlike when we were kids and the end of summer meant leaving behind sleeping in and adventures with friends for homework and tests, now, the end of summer just means the beginning of our other favorite season, fall. And that means sweater weather, crisp and breezy days, colorful and crunchy leaves, apple orchard trips, cozy indoor hangs, football, Halloween candy, and, of course, a whole new repertoire of beverages to look forward to. From traditional German festbiers to creative pumpkin brews to indulgent stouts to spicy ciders, there are so many drinks that scream, “autumn!” and capture all of the aromas and flavors we truly look forward to all year.
Because there are indeed so many fall flavors that make this season special, we’re doing what never fails to not only get us even more excited, but also guides us toward things to try and love: we’re asking the experts. We heard from some of our favorite brands on what they were imbibing before summer ended, so now we’re turning to them again to find out how they roll out the welcome mat for fall.
Hank Browning, Key Account Manager for New York at Jiant Hard Kombucha
“I would suggest Jiant’s Gingerly: Ginger and Lemongrass,” says Hank, the key account manager for New York at Jiant Hard Kombucha. Gingerly will be available for purchase on the TapRm site soon and, “It’s got the perfect ginger bite to warm you up!”
Ginger is one of those spices that works all year round but feels especially perfect for fall because of its warmth and the fact that it’s used in all the good autumnal baked treats. It’s got heat, it’s spicy and peppery, it’s sort of woody and earthy, but also citrusy, and oh, it’s sweet, too--ginger is so wonderfully complex. Add that to the sweet and tart and funky balance of hard kombucha, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Tara Hankinson, Co-founder of TALEA Beer Co.
“I love pumpkin beers!” says TALEA co-founder Tara. “Something about the maltiness just sings ‘fall!’. I also love Black & Tans which feel like the quintessential cold weather beer.”
TALEA actually just released their Basically Pumpkin Autumn Ale, which instead of going full-on drinkable pumpkin pie, is like a crisp, toasty, grahamy fall beer with pumpkin spices. It’s truly the perfect way to get your pumpkin fix without even getting close to a beer that’s too heavy or too sweet. If you can get to TALEA’s Williamsburg taproom, you can enjoy a pour in a glass rimmed with cinnamon.
A Black & Tan achieves a similar art of balance, half roasty and warming stout, half crushable pale ale. Check out this Liquor.com recipe and try it for yourself with the Urban Anomaly Stout from Crowns & Hops and Ghost Brewing’s Skeleton Key Pale Ale.
Loretta Chung and Sarah Hallonquist, Founders of Dyke Beer
“I love pumpkin beer and we are working on our own Dyke Beer version so stay tuned!” That promise from Loretta is all we need to keep our eyes peeled. Dyke Beer is brewing up Witch, Please!, which also goes the route of crisp and crushable, offering this elevated, refreshing form of pumpkin’s sweetness and spice. This brew is actually a märzen that’s been pumpkin-spiced--in other words, it is the best of both fall beer worlds. We are so here for these lighter pumpkin brews!
Jeremy Kim, Co-Founder, 하드Nectar Hard Seltzer
For Nectar co-founder Jeremy, choosing a fall beverage is about capturing the season’s ambience. What do we love about autumn? That slight chill that feels refreshing and allows us to return to our favorite sweater? It’s easier than you think to channel that magic into your drinking choice.
“Try our Yuzu (하드Nectar Hard Seltzer) flavor,” Jeremy recommends. “It's crisp like the air on a fall evening.”
We’re already dreaming of just how crisp a bright Yuzu hard seltzer will feel. This is a perfect way to balance all the toastier options on tap this season, and to complement some of the more filling dishes we start to indulge in around this time of year.
John Ross Cocozza, President of Ross Brewing
“Fall is our favorite season!!” exclaims Ross Brewing president John. “And we are both Oktoberfest AND pumpkin beer fans. That's why we put out Jacktoberfest, our Pumpkin Märzen, which we really feel is the ultimate fall beer. At 6% it is hearty enough to drink deep into the fall, with great malt balance, the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor, and an array of fall spices that make this beer one of our favorites to make AND drink!!”
There you have it, folx: combining Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers to create the ultimate fall beer that’s complex but light and crisp? It’s officially a trend. And a big cheers to that! If you need further proof of how much Ross Brewing loves fall flavors, check out their Harvest Cider and their Iceboat Winter Warmer--yes, we realize it has “winter” in the name, but it’s full of spices you’ll want to start enjoying now.
Denise Ford Sawadogo, Owner and General Manager at Montclair Brewery
“I love seasonal beers like pumpkin beers, pastry stouts, and honey ales for the fall,” says Denise, an owner and general manager at Montclair. Denise is definitely someone to look to for fall flavor inspiration, as she and her husband, brewery co-owner Leo Sawadogo, take a culinary approach to their brews. Combining passion and expertise from the kitchen with their own cultural cuisines, this pair creates some unique beers that embrace their seasons. At any given time, this brewery’s portfolio will feature a diverse array of seasonal flavors and aromas.
Luke Walker, Brewmaster at Walker Brothers
We can totally relate to Luke’s reluctance to let go of summer flavors, just like that Watermelon Lime kombucha. But fall has its own repertoire of things, just like ginger, we can’t wait to dig into. The High Gravity Ginger Kombucha is bursting with spice and just a touch of heat that interprets autumn with a complex finish that’s effortlessly enjoyed anywhere, any time. And it’s so refreshing that it’s ideal even if you live somewhere that doesn’t cool down so much just because the calendar changed.
Robby Willey, Co-founder of The Virginia Beer Company
“This may be an atypical answer, but we are vibing hard on our new Pale Ale, Gorgeous,” Virginia Beer Company co-founder Robby says. “We brewed this recipe for the first time earlier this year and we're now on our third turn because it's been so popular! Gorgeous is a double dry-hopped 100% Citra hazy Pale Ale and is incredibly drinkable at 5.2% ABV. To us it's like summer in a can. We only thought it would be around at the start of summer but since we've brewed it multiple times now, it's like holding a can of summer sunshine in your hand. Our team will be enjoying this final batch of the season (so far) until the leaves start to turn.
“Once it’s gone, we know it will be sweater weather and fall beer season! Once we see the autumn weather approaching we do have a rotation of malt-forward and spiced beers on the docket including our annual Oktoberfest release, Pumpkin Patches (Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout brewed with locally roasted sugar pumpkins & spices), and Evil Santa (Spiced Milk Stout). There's a time and a place for all beer styles and their time is coming!”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. How cool is it that VBC literally has every season covered with perfectly timed releases that take the most irresistible flavors of that time of year and put them in a can? Depending on the occasion and the weather right now, we’re so ready to volley back and forth between Gorgeous and Pumpkin Patches plus Elbow Patches.
Sean Ro, Co-Founder of Lunar Hard Seltzer
“Our plum flavor, which is made from the syrup of South Korean plums preserved in brown sugar, is going to be perfect for the fall,” says Lunar co-founder Sean. “It's the fullest-bodied of our three flavors, and its earthy, sweeter, and tart finish will have you wondering why you haven't heard of this flavor before.”
Leave it to Lunar with its special and inspired focus on beautiful Asian ingredients and flavors to craft a hard seltzer that is still so refreshing on a warm day while also proving that this kind of beverage can pack more autumnal flavors and aromas. Hard seltzer, it turns out, can be light and crushable and thirst-quenching while still embodying a fuller kind of complexity.
Morgan McLachlan, Co-Founder, Master Distiller, & Chief Product Officer at AMASS“Funny enough, AMASS Surfer Rosso Hard Seltzer is a great autumn riff, as the tart hibiscus is balanced with the warmth of ginger and subtle baking spice notes.” This recommendation from Morgan, co-founder, master distiller, and chief product officer at AMASS, echoes Lunar’s: hard seltzer is the refresher we all know and love, but that doesn’t mean it’s too light or simple for our fall cravings. The Surfer Rosso obviously conjures up beachy imagery, but just thinking about the tart and floral hibiscus with ginger heat plus spices? Now we’re dreaming of taking that beach stroll in cozy layers, feeling blissed out after a meal with loved ones that definitely included pie.