Now that the 2011 L.A. Beer Week is behind us we can start planning for 2012. Just kidding. All of the organizers, bar owners and brewers who made the fortnight of beery goodness a success should still be sleeping in this week as a reward for their hard work.
Now with the shorter days and slight chill (it is still Los Angeles) in the air, it is time to start looking at what I consider the beer styles of fall, a sometimes derided or skipped over sub-set of my own devising.
Dubbels and Quadruples
These two distinct Belgian styles are great for fall drinking. The dubbel has a nice caramel malty set of flavors that can be spicy but also have notes of raisins to it. The quad is similar in some respects but is much more the elder brother of the two with a much more warming alcohol feature to it and a much fuller body to it. Making it a great choice for late night sipping.
This is the perfect L.A. summer-to-fall transition beer. This is the style you will see at Mexican restaurants because it pairs well with the spicy and heavy foods without being overwhelmed by them. Malty but still light this is a style that I would like to see more California and Southwest breweries create.
This is a category that I think works better for a holiday ale in hotter climes like SoCal because it combines some of the barrel notes and caramel that you can get in big Imperial stouts and porters without as much of the heft and heaviness that the stouts bring. And we get some good examples, like Old Chub from Oskar Blues or Moylan’s Kilt Lifter in our markets.
This style incorporates oatmeal to bring a different texture and mouth feel to the stout. Those oats also bring a different type of sweetness to the beer as well. Again without a punishing level of alcohol. Also, oatmeal stout is a perfect accompaniment to those little Halloween candy bars.
All four of these styles work wonders with food as varied as BBQ or hearty soups but can also help cut through the heaviness of the foods of fall including the hearty offerings of the Thanksgiving table.
This year try some autumnal beers before heading for the holiday ales that are already hitting store shelves.
For the craft Beer of the Week, I recommend the collaboration between the yams of The Bruery, the pumpkins of Elysian Brewing Company in Seattle and the arrogance of Stone Brewing to create the hard to pronounce and harder to spell autumn beer, La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado. It is “an amber ale brewed with pumpkins grown on Stone Farms yams, rye, toasted fenugreek, birch bark, and lemon verbena.” I have a bottle cooling in the ‘fridge for All Hallows Eve.
Your Homework this week is to check out the festival of Pumpkin beers at Blue Palms Brewhouse. Pumpkin beers have been around for a while. Sometimes out of favor in our hop filled world but still a nice beer canvas to paint on for the imaginative brewer. Some interesting creations will be ready for you to try including Midnight Sun TREAT from Alaska, Oregon’s Beer Valley Jackalope Imperial Pumpkin Porter, nearby Bootlegger’s Pumpkin ale and many more including a certain beer of the week. And you can pair them with pumpkin quesadillas!
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.
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