Best Seasonal Beers That Contain Zero Pumpkin

I am currently writing this piece whilst hole'd up in my apartment, covered in fuzzy blankets and boots, watching suspenseful slasher films while a Los Angeles autumn breeze finally rolls in. The only thing missing is a pumpkin beverage... Oh. It's 2017? (Carry the 3...) Yes, you're right. It's 2017? Pumpkin spiced is now passé spiced. If you see it anywhere, even on tap, destroy it.

So what to drink on these brisk fall days you ask? Let me give you a rundown...

Oktoberfest

This style is up there as one of the most popular and commercialized beers in the world, the only thing holding it back is its seasonality. That, in my opinion, is a good thing. I like the thrill of the chase. A medium body overall and a clean finish gives it a little more gusto than the crushable pilsners of summer, but the possibility of drinking several of these beers in rapid succession at a holiday party is still within reach. Malty hints of hazelnuts, dried dark fruit, and toasted bread create the air of a changing season that's not quite here yet, but you know its coming. 

Coffee Amber/Stout Hybrids

One could argue that there is always a time for any beer infused with coffee, and I would agree. However, there's just something about fall that amplifies the coffee in certain beer styles. Is it the early nights that make an djhvefu roast drip coffee ? Is it the myriad of Thanksgiving turkey accouterments like pecan pie, charred green veggies, and smoked ham that creates a twilight breakfast-for-dinner zone in which a creamy coffee chocolate mousse stout is necessary at 6pm? Did I just go too hard at the unofficial high school reunion at the Irish bar the night before Thanksgiving and need an espresso stout to keep this wolfpack howling? When did I get a wolfpack? I don't know, but there's just something about having one in autumn...

Barrel Aged Imperial Anything

Whiskey barrels. Whisky barrels. Wine barrels. Rum barrels. Oil barrels. Maybe ponder that last one, but if you see a beer (typically a big, imperial stout, porter, or a sour/wild ale) that's aged in a barrel and its currently cold outside, get it. Since they are typically brewed only once or twice a year, finding them can be difficult for six months of the year. When these brews are brewed, they can be added to a barrel of another alcoholic beverage with the intent of imparting new layers of flavor, alcohol, and environment in some cases. The result is a kind of super beer often in the double-digit ABV range with traits of filling, decadent deserts and an approachable alcoholic burn that will get you through some frigid winter nights. 

Tim Maher