It’s fall y’all.
Time to break out the Ugg boots, scarfs, flannel shirts, Patagonia vests, and, of course, black leggings (my personal go-to look for the next 6 months). Instead of seeking out my neighborhood barista for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, I’m excited to visit my local bartender’s for my top fall favorite beers. Coffee, after all, might get you through the day, but you’re going to need something stronger to serve at that annual pumpkin carving party. So here’s my ultimate top six favorite Fall-orado beers to excite you for the cooler days ahead:
1. Denver Beer Co: Hey! Pumpkin
I’d like to think I discovered Denver Beer Co’s delicious seasonal beer before anyone else would admit pumpkin beer was amazing. Last year I became a DBC Explorer Ambassador, which means I receive a case a month of their delicious brews to photograph all over the state and showcase on my @yogimagee Instagram account. They have it in their tap room and also sell it in cans, which makes it perfect for my leaf peeping adventures. It’s not overpoweringly sweet and has subtle hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and spice. The can also reminds me of the changing Aspen leaves which is a welcome site when I open the refrigerator after a long day.
2. Dry Dock: Docktoberfest
Based out of Aurora, this establishment grew from word-of-mouth and launched to national recognition when it won a gold 2006 World Beer Cup for it’s now well-known Amber Ale. This past weekend, while on a search for turning leaves in Telluride, I struck gold when I discovered their first canned seasonal release – Docktoberfest. It’s a Marzen-style lager for those who like German malt flavors and has just a hint of modest hop bitterness. Compared to their Imperial Pumpkin, which is 9% ABV it’s only 5.6% ABV, which means your guests can enjoy more without hitting the floor.
3. Avery: Rumpkin Ale
Break out the fancy tasting glasses, or preferably a cup that doesn’t feature Disney Frozen characters on it, because at 18% ABV, Avery’s Rumpkin Ale is meant to be sipped slowly like a fine wine. At $12 for a 12oz bottle, it’s about the cost of a bottle of wine on my budget, as well. A lot of breweries now are aging their beer in rum barrels and that’s exactly how this beer gets its hints of molasses and oak. I’m not a huge fan of rum by itself, but this concoction keeps me warm on a cold night and is a perfect “after-Butternut-Squash-soup-(suggested pairing)-the-kids-are-finally-asleep-sipping-by-the-fire” beer.
4. New Belgium: Pumpkick
If Thanksgiving were bottled and sold in the liquor store you’d find it in the Pumpkick bottle. There’s more tartness to this than any of the others on my list, thanks to the added cranberries and lemongrass. I tried this beer after drinking Hey! Pumpkin and at first found it too sour, as I was expecting more of a pumpkin flavor than berry. New Belgium is a favorite brewery in Colorado, so this is one you can find easily in most any liquor store, making it my go-to in a pinch. They only keep it on shelves through October so stock up for your Thanksgiving Day party for those adverse to drinking wine at the dinner table.
5. Upslope Brewing: Pumpkin Ale
This won the 2011 GABF gold medal, which isn’t easy to do considering most beer connoisseurs I know seem to abhor pumpkin ales. This one’s made with 3,000 pounds of baby bear pumpkins grown at Boulder’s Munson Farms. Drinking this is literally like injecting a Colorado fall directly into your bloodstream. For the second year in a row, Upslope is combining my favorite activities! Hiking and beer drinking, with a Backcountry Tap Room at Vance’s Cabin located in the Red Cliff area, just up the Ski Cooper trail. For hiking the 3.1 mile journey you receive a 19.2 oz can of their limited edition Fresh Hop IPA, as well as two more 12 oz cans of any of their year round style beers. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for their next tasting event at 11k!
6. Wynkoop: Pumpkin Ale
So you’ve got family coming into town and want to get out of the house? Why not take them to Wynkoop for dinner and a nice Pumpkin Ale?! At 4.2% ABV, this is the perfect English brown ale for those not looking to become a complete drunken pumpkin. If you’re more of a cider fan, they also have a limited release Salted Caramel Apple Ale, which was so popular last year it sold out in a week. Wynkoop is my go-to restaurant when I want to show my visitors a piece of downtown Denver, have a quick sit down meal, and bring the kiddos. While I love cozying up in my house having a beer and watching scary movies on Netflix, there’s something nice about being served a tall cold pint poured straight from the tap.
There’s my perfect fall six pack for you!
You can find these beers in stores or visit the breweries themselves in your denim jackets and riding boots for an ultimate adult pumpkin patch night. I host an annual pumpkin carving party at my house each year and I encourage all my guests to bring a different pumpkin beer, so we can taste test them all and decide on a favorite. Much like my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte, most all of these beers are only available through October so clear some space in your fridge if you’d like to stock up.