Pumpkin beers and fresh hop ales steal the spotlight this time of year. However, the rich autumnal post-harvest season has much more to offer than just well-branded curcubitan and lupulin choices. Ingredients like rye, tea herbs and wheat sparkle as the season changes.
As the fog rolls in and the air gets crisp, a warm cup of tea beckons. Of course, being the beerific city it is, Portland offers up a surprisingly stout plethora of beers brewed with traditional tea flavors, for those who want calm with a kick. Beers like The Commons’ Fleur de Ferme, which is made with chamomile, hibiscus and lavender, evoke that cuddle-factor promised by a hot cup of a tea and a good book. No need to curl up next to a fire; Fleur de Ferme warms you right up.
If chamomile is too serenity-inducing, you can opt for Breakside’s Bergamot Special Bitter. BSB’s earl grey vibe doesn’t just come from the bergamot alone–this beauty is also conditioned on tea leaves. You can have your tea and drink beer too.
Similarly, rye, though arguably a year-round adjunct, is specifically apt for autumn. Its hardy, crisp character is well-suited to Portland’s flannel-clad fall and the amber hue it bequeaths blends right in with the changing leaves. Base Camp Brewing offers their Ripstop Rye Pils as a cheeky twist on this common adjunct. Of course, Ripstop has that beloved pilsner vibe that’s drinkable all year, but the rye imparts a certain fuller body reserved for the chillier months. Zesty, crispy and drinkable? Yes, please.
Finally, fall wouldn’t be complete without wheat. While wheat is more ubiquitous here in the home of Widmer’s Hefeweizen than perhaps other cities, there’s always room for balanced wheat beers. Often overlooked as spring selections, wheat beers can be fall favorites, too, conjuring up the proverbial harvest each year. One particular wheat beer that has us swooning is Fort George’s spot-on Quick Wit. With traditional wheat beer flavors–coriander, orange peel, clove-y banana–it satisfies in its simplicity without feeling like it’s trying too hard. Plus, the 16-ounce pounder can doesn’t hurt either. Crack one open at home or take it with you on the last of your non-rainy outdoor adventures until next June.
When it comes to fall beers, don’t sell yourself short. Pumpkin and fresh hop beers may get all the glory, but there are plenty of other awesome autumn choices to explore.