The Harvest Spirits
Fall is a favorite season for its colors and refreshing crisp. The very same could be said about the abundant seasonal harvest ales found this time of the year in bars, retailers and restaurants. A finely crafted draft can augment autumn flavors and give a nice spot of spirit to waning days. Here are some of my favorite drinks to pair with the season and where to reap their bounty.
Abita Pecan Ale
Known for their distinct flavors, this Louisiana brewery puts out a seasonal Pecan Ale that brings to mind leaf piles and candied nuts. Released as part of Abita’s Harvest series,the pecan ale is made with Louisiana-grown ingredients and brewed with pale, Munich, biscuit and caramel malts and Willamette hops. It is recommended with red meat, seafood and, yes, nuts! Also try with a little Gouda cheese. This choice seasonal can be found at: The Pug, Bier Baron Hotel & Tavern, Black Whiskey, RFD Washington and Little Miss Whiskey’s.
Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
Seems like every brewery in the game has a pumpkin variety, but only one can be the Great Pumpkin and that crown goes to Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale. Brewed with pumpkin squash and a blend of spices, Schlafly’s seasonal manages the rare feat of bottling liquid pumpkin pie. And at 8.0 percent ABV this isn’t your grandma’s pumpkin pie, either. As the Great Pumpkin of the pumpkin beers, Schlaflys is notoriously hard to find. I’ve heard rumors of sightings at beer and wine stores only to discover the shelves empty, disappeared without a trace. There are three D.C. restaurants that I know of that reliably have Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale on draft, Meridian Pint, Pizzeria Paradiso and District of Pi. Catch a taste before its gone!
Sierra Nevada Harvest
Sierra Nevada divides their seasonals into Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere harvest ales to conquer the world in hoppiness. The Northern Hemisphere ale started the “wet” hop trend, using non-dried hops that are introduced to the brewing process less than 24 hours after being picked in the Yakima valley. In contrast, the Southern Hemisphere ale features hops from New Zealand emphasizing distinct floral and herbal aromas. These geographic drinks can be found at Bier Baron Hotel & Tavern, Elephant & Castle, Churchkey, RFD Washington and Whole Foods Markets.
Hope some of these beers wet your whistle this season. Happy fall and merry drinking!
Richard is a freelance writer who enjoys building a healthy appetite with long runs around the city. When not logging the miles, he can be spotted training the palate at brunches, happy hours and food trucks.