Seasonal Brews to Ease Your Taste Buds Into Fall

What fall beers are you drinking?

Narragansett Bohemian Pilsner
– While the main selling point for Narragansett, besides the historical cans, has been the surprisingly decent quality of their cheap pilsner, this is also a company that knows how to satisfy the craft beer crowd. Once again, they turned to local Brew Maestro Sean Larkin, who designed their Bohemian Pilsner. Once available only in limited edition bottles, this brew now comes in standard 6-packs of 16 ounce cans, joining Narragansett’s portfolio of satisfying seasonals. Normally, Pilsners are a sign that wards off the craft beer drinker, and with good reason. The connotation of the word brings to mind watered-down rice-flavored mass-produced beer with a nearly laughable alcohol content. The Bohemian Pilsner takes that reputation and body-slams it onto hard concrete, covered in LEGO blocks. The beer has a soft malty flavor with just enough hop presence to give it a nice balance, one that leaves a pleasant tingle on the palate. I’d classify this more as a warm weather beer, but also a very nice crossover beer for those friends of yours who think hops are evil and Sam Adams is too heavy. As a craft beer, it’s a pleasant reprieve from the explosive IPAs and citrusy shady concoctions typical of summertime.

The Just Beer Project IPA – Leave it to Alan Newman, the man who founded the once titanic Magic Hat, then sold it to take life easy. Personally, I’d rather spend all my time making beer than what I do now, so that must be one easy life he went off for. Well, apparently ol’ Alan and I are of a like mind, and so the Just Beer Project came into being. Here I sit with a bottle of their “sessionable” IPA, and I have to say, I’m intrigued by the details of the recipe. Honey Malt? Over half a dozen varieties of hops, yet it remains light in both IBUs and alcohol? We’ll see about that!

Well shucky-darn … this is damned tasty! The honey malt adds an interesting sweetness not often found in an IPA, which balances the very pleasant, yet subtle, hop bouquet on the other side. In true Magic Hat tradition, it sort of snubs its nose at traditional styles and marches to its own beat. Because the honey malt gives it a touch more body than normal, I’d almost dare say this is a fall or winter IPA without being a black IPA. Well, I’m pleased with it, and it makes me wonder if perhaps there shall be an appearance of something Jinx-like in the future.

Sierra Nevada Flipside – Sierra Nevada impressed me with their Torpedo several years ago. Ever since, they’ve been coming out with more and more interesting and innovative brews that have, in subsequent experimental brews, impressed me further. Their Rye beer impressed me, their Tumbler impressed me, and now their Flipside, Red IPA … has also impressed me. Shocking, I know!

I always felt red ales in general didn’t get enough respect from the craft beer world. I suppose with staples like Killian’s and Smithwicks defining the terrain, it’s hard to imagine much from the style. But oh, the potential! Perfectly toasted grains to lend that perfect deep ruby color, finding just the right hop signature to complement the malty foundation … so many possibilities. I guess it would seem pretty natural to attempt a Red IPA eventually, since there’ve been black IPAs, white IPAs, and coming soon, I’m sure, Pilsner IPAs. This is a pleasantly crisp, tasty little fall brew that leaves a pleasant, effervescent taste on the tongue. I can imagine drinking this leisurely around a campfire as the first few colorful leaves dance down to the ground from the treetops. Actually, that sounds pretty good! Cheers!

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