Welcoming a new season isn’t just about a change in weather, it also brings welcome changes that are sure to please the palate. For example, it turns out that pumpkin and autumnal spices can taste just as enjoyable in a pilsner glass as they do in a coffee mug. Check out some of Michigan’s most revered beers of fall.
Autumn Ale: Short’s Brewing Company-Elk Rapids
Style: Amber ABV: 5.4%
Description: This seasonal effort from Short’s once earned a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. That’s high praise indeed. It has a nice balance of sweetness from the malt and bitterness from the floral hops. This medium-bodied brew, pours with amber color, and full flavor.
Chubby Squirrel: Right Brain Brewery-Traverse City
Style: Spiced Amber Ale ABV: 5.5%
Description: There are tons of these guys running around my yard, but I’d much rather drink their namesake. It features some sweet components to balance out the spice, having been brewed with real Madagascar vanilla beans, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and lemon peel. Spice aromas balance out notes of toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Harvest Ale: Founders Brewing Company-Grand Rapids
Style: Wet-hopped Ale ABV: 7.6%
Description: With the hops harvest recently behind us, this popular seasonal favorite is made from wet hops. The cones, added after the boil, are used within hours of being picked by local growers. The result is an aromatic and bright IPA bursting with fresh pine, melon and citrus notes, without a lot of bitterness.
Ichabod: New Holland Brewing Company-Holland
Style: Pumpkin Ale ABV: 4.5%
Description: Thanks to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and its Headless Horseman, the name Ichabod Crane, has become synonymous with Halloween. Similarly, New Holland’s Ichabod has become one of the best know Michigan brews of the fall. It combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg that pairs well with poultry, root vegetables and even dessert.
Jaw Jacker: Arcadia Ales-Kalamazoo
Style: Spiced Amber Ale ABV: 6%
Description: There’s no actual pumpkin in this seasonal favorite, yet the cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg with additions of Caramel and Crystal malt, may still make you think pumpkin pie. Appropriate to the season, it is a brilliant orange-amber color and very refreshing, especially on an Indian Summer day.
La Parcela (The Patch): Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales-Dexter
Style: Sour Pumpkin Ale ABV: 5.9%
Description: For years there was a running joke in the beer community about the fact that Jolly Pumpkin didn’t brew a pumpkin beer. That changed in 2017 with the first release of this seasonal brew. It is made with a heavy dose of real pumpkins, hints of spice and just a touch of cacao.
Oktoberfest Lager: Frankenmuth Brewery-Frankenmuth
Style: Märzen Lager ABV: 5.27%
Description: Märzen is a lager that originated in Bavaria. In fact, it is the beer traditionally served at Oktoberfest, so it only seems right that Frankenmuth Brewery produce one. In 1996, Frankenmuth’s Oktoberfest became the first to operate with the blessing of the original festival in Munich. Brewed in true Bavarian fashion, this Oktoberfest Lager uses German noble hops and four different malts to create its trademark copper color and flavor.
Pumpkin Spice Latte: Atwater Brewing Company-Detroit
Style: Herb & Spice Beer ABV: 7%
Description: Atwater is seeing American’s passion for the Pumpkin Spice Latte and raising with a beer version. It features three different malts to create a combination of walnut and honey flavors with a little extra sweetness. The sweet is counter-balanced with pumpkin spice and coffee extracts, which are custom-designed locally for a truly unique taste sensation.
Screamin’ Pumpkin: Griffin Claw Brewing-Rochester
Style: Spiced Amber Ale ABV: 5%
Description: The pumpkin is all real and roasted in this delightful amber ale. Gently accented with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger, the result is flavorful without being overly spicy. It is lightly hopped.
Violin Monster: Arbor Brewing Company-Ann Arbor
Style: Spiced Double Stout ABV 9.5%
Description: The werewolf on the label is indicative of more than just the season. Legend has it there is a major werewolf area stretching from mid-Germany into the Netherlands and Belgium. Inspired by that concept, this beer is a strong, dark, spice ale using ingredients from those regions. It’s brewed with Midnight Wheat, warming spices, and a hint of brown sugar. Beware of the ABV, which may attack like a werewolf if you’re not careful.