The Booze Bin

A Taste for Every Season

fall beerEverybody has a favorite fall food, but what’s your favorite fall beer? If you’re not quite sure, you’re in luck. There are more options than ever to help you make a decision.

Just look at pumpkin beer – because it’s hard not to… it’s everywhere! It wasn’t many years ago when the pumpkin brew was something of a red-headed stepchild in your favorite local beer store come fall, always outnumbered by the staple of the season: the traditional Oktoberfest.

But that’s no longer the case.

Today, we live in the era of craft beer. And with an ever-growing number of new brewers seeking to win our favor – be it in a pint or a six pack – they’re going beyond the expected Oktoberfest options, putting a renewed emphasis on the “season” in seasonal.

I’ve yet to come across a frothy pint of pumpkin beer that pleases me, but I must be in the minority. Everybody from big brewers like Blue Moon and Sam Adams to a number of craft brewers are filling shelves with the stuff. Fortunately, for those of us who’d rather the pumpkins stay on porches and out of beer, there are some other interesting fall choices.

A new fall favorite of mine is Sweet Yamma Jamma, a sweet potato ale with candied yams and spices from Minneapolis-based Indeed Brewing Company. It’s the perfect hearty accompaniment to any warm fall meal, and is dangerously tempting enough to serve as a meal in itself.

Harpoon Brewery’s seasonal Grateful Harvest Ale isn’t available within a reasonable driving distance of me, but I have to admit I’m intrigued. It’s an amber ale brewed with cranberries, so a seemingly perfect complement to your Thanksgiving dinner. And if you’re on the fence about it, perhaps the $1 they donate to a local food bank for every six pack sold will sway you.

seasonal beerAnother curiously interesting option is Oregon-based Harvester Brewing’s seasonal Squash Ale. The beer features not only squash but also roasted pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg.

The availability of these increasingly exotic beer options can be chalked up to a couple factors. First, it stands to reason that a larger number of breweries will lead to a wider array of choices and please a more diverse range of taste preferences. I learned this when I tried my first (and last) jalapeno beer a couple years back.

Second, the unstoppable growth of breweries in the U.S. is naturally going to lead to more competition. The craft-beer honeymoon is over for most people, meaning breweries need to do more and more to gain some distinction and make waves in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Think of it as Darwinism with malted barley.

Showing some panache and playfulness in your beer-making abilities and putting out more adventurous options will do that. And so will a host of other things – small-batch brews that can generate some buzz, tastings and brewery-based events that integrate you brand into people’s social lives, giving back to your community to connect with people at an emotional level and building a strong web and social media presence so you’re always present in the lives of today’s connected generations.

In other words, craft beer can no longer be sustained on its name alone. Brand image, creative marketing and reputation all are increasingly important. And remember, craft beer may have all the buzz, but big beer is still king.

Of course, the question now lingers: Who’s going to give us a gravy beer?

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About Chance Prigge:

Chance brings a strong combination of business and journalism experience to his role in the manufacturing and technology practice at PadillaCRT, where his clients include Oshkosh Corp., JLG and Pentair. Prior to joining PadillaCRT, Chance was an editor at Business Wire’s Minneapolis office for more than three years. He edited, formatted and distributed news for some of the Midwest’s largest businesses on a daily basis. Previously, Chance was a reporter and editor at two Minnesota newspapers, the Fairmont Sentinel and Thisweek Farmington. At both, he was responsible for a broad range of news coverage, in addition to editorial duties such as proofing stories, designing news pages and assisting with opinion columns.

3 Comments on “A Taste for Every Season

  1.  by  Jason Poulos
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    Those options sound interesting! I don’t mind the pumpkin beers but I really can’t have more than one. Some favorites have been Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale and Hardywood Park’s Rum Barrel Pumpkin.

    Not sure if you guys get it out in Minneapolis but Ommegang’s Scythe and Sickle Harvest Ale is awesome! The beer commemorates the fall grain harvest and you can really taste the fresh grain and it has some nice Belgian notes to it.

    Cheers!

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