The air is crisp, the outdoors have a rich, earthy scent and the leaves are changing to brilliant hues of crimson, orange and gold.
But this time of year doesn’t just mean gorgeous scenery—it also means seasonal brews are making their way into bars, restaurants and refrigerated cases all over.
These seven will keep you toasty on those cool autumn nights.
Samuel Adams Fat Jack
This double pumpkin ale isn’t just a great beer because it’s rich and rewarding; it also comes in a big fat bottle (22 oz.) with a creeptastic painting to boot. It’s brewed with pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, with roasted and smoked malts to add an undercurrent of complexity. A whopping 8.5 percent ABV will keep you as jolly as jack-o-lantern. Pair with: hearty dishes like roast duck, lamb or pork; desserts like carrot cake and cheesecake.
21st Amendment He Said Belgian-Style Tripel and Elysian Brewing He Said Baltic-Style Porter
Two great breweries have teamed up to create a unique 4-pack with two 8.2 percent ABV beers featuring pumpkin puree, pumpkin juice and some… exotic ingredients. The Belgian-style Tripel is a light ale in the dark-colored can. It’s brewed with galangal (an Asian root from the ginger family) and tarragon (an herb often used in French cooking). The Baltic-style Porter, a dark lager in the light-colored can, features caraway and Vietnamese cinnamon. They’re not being advertised as pumpkin beers for a good reason; they’re so much more. Nothing will do here but a chalice. Pair with: 21A brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan recommends pairing his Belgian Tripel’s sweetness with pork, turkey, steak, fingerling potatoes and of course, a spiced pumpkin pie with a rich, buttery crust. Shaun likes to pair the rich, dark Baltic Porter with stewed, roasted or braised red meats such as short ribs, as well as rich chocolate- and coffee-infused desserts.
Great Lakes Nosferatu
This American Imperial red ale is named after the insidious vampire for a reason; its hoppy overtones may bite and leave a mark on beer novices. But for those who enjoy the rich flavor and intense hoppiness of a good IPA, this brew (which clocks in at 8.0 percent ABV) delivers toasty breaddish notes and an aroma of citrus and pine. Pair with: Soft, strong cheeses; steak; hearty sautéed root vegetables.
AleSmith Evil Dead Red
When you hear of a beer with the number of the beast in its ABV (6.66 percent), you may think it’s a gimmick. But nay, Evil Dead Red simply pays tribute to the season with its blood-red color, intense aroma of pine, bready flavor profile and Halloween-appropriate sweetness. Pair with: focaccia; aged cheddar and similar cheeses; caramel apples.
Midnight Sun Brewing Company T.R.E.A.T.
Brewed with cocoa nibs, spices and pumpkin, this Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (re-named The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment) doses drinkers with an assortment of flavors. Sweet and sour candied pumpkin shines through with notes of chocolate and roasty-toasty cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and brown sugar with hints of pepper. Though the first sip can be confusing, the second makes all the sense in the world. And it should—this unique 7.8 percent ABV brew won a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2007. Pair with: fall desserts like pumpkin pie, cheesecake and bread pudding. You can also reduce and make into a molé sauce or use as a glaze for grilled meats, r mix with Middle-Eastern spices and use as a marinade for lamb or goat.
Abita Brewing Company Pecan Harvest Ale
Brewed with roasted, toasted Louisiana pecans (or as they say it, p’k-AHNs) and pecan oils, this harvest ale is nutty, flavorful and, at 5.1 percent ABV, perfect for an all-evening campfire-side reflection on life. Pair with: red meat; seafood; gouda and other Dutch cheeses; mixed, salted nuts including, you guessed it, pecans.