food

Best Brews: Four Cicerones Share Their Favorite Fall Beers

Glass of Fall Beer

Photo by MaxyM / Shutterstock

While you’ve probably heard of a sommelier, you may have not heard of its sister-from-another-mister, the “cicerone,” which is essentially the beer equivalent of a sommelier. Lucky for us, four brewhouse experts and certified cicerones were kind enough to share their favorite fall brews. To that we say, “Prost!”

Lauren Young

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Lauren Young
California Brewing Co. & Melvin Brewing Co. – San Francisco, California

“For a selection that can appeal to many palates, I chose offerings from regional and national breweries here in the U.S., as well as from Germany—the motherland of beer.”

Melvin Hubert MPA (Melvin Pale Ale) 6% ABV
The Olympic champion of beer is light, crisp, and subtly bitter. In all seriousness, while beer may not be an Olympic sanctioned sport (yet), the “MPA” from Jackson, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewery did take home gold in the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, 2017 AmeriCAN Festival, and 2016 AmeriCAN Festival—as well as Best of Show at the 2016 AmeriCAN Festival. “This regional offering might be hard to find, but it’s worth the search for a taste of first place.”

Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ 10% ABV
What started out in 1997 as a failed attempt at Olde GnarlyWine Ale soon became the happy accident that California brewery Lagunitas describes as “irresponsible” and “dangerously slammable.” “Not only do the leaves turn this time of year, but so does your hankering for something a tad malty that warms you from the inside out,” says Young. “This 10% American Strong Ale will do just that.”

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen 5.8% ABV
“The history of this beer sets it apart—it dates back to October 12, 1810 when a royal Bavarian wedding reception sparked the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Munich.” Over 200 years later, the Amber ale remains an Oktoberfest staple due to its rich malt flavor, dark toffee notes, and masterful balance of hops.

zack burris

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Zack Burris
Lagunitas Brewing Co. – Petaluma, California

For Burris, beer is as synonymous to autumnal activities as fireworks are to the Fourth of July.

Lagunitas Sumpin’ Easy 5.7% ABV
Burris’ personal favorite packs on plenty of two-row barley and Ekuanot hops. Pair this with a little bit of “wheaty-esque-ish-ness” and you get a brew that is smooth and velvety with a fruity and mildly resiny finish––like biting into a freshly picked peach. “It’s my go-to tailgating beer for the fall.”

The Lost Abbey Track 8: The Number of the Beast 13.2% ABV
Brewed in San Marcos, California, this beast of a beer starts by aging the brewery’s own Judgement Day ale in first-fill bourbon barrels. The beer is then amped up by adding cinnamon sticks and dried chili peppers. “Bourbon-barrel-aged beers are my version of pumpkin spiced lattes—except this gives you a different kind of lift!”

Uncle Bear’s Peanut Butter Cup Porter ABV 5.4%
What’s even better than peanut butter and jelly? Peanut butter and beer, but of course! Burris loves this one because it’s dark and decadent, but not overly so. “It’s a great late night beer that isn’t overbearing—no pun intended.”

Jonathan Whitaker

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Jonathan Whitaker
International Taphouse – Kansas City, Missouri

European-style brews equal coziness and comfort this autumn.

Two Brothers Domaine Dupage 5.9% ABV
Inspired by the French countryside but brewed in Illinois, this Bière de Garde-style ale is the perfect beer for Turkey Day. “The earthy and herbal notes are something I literally crave every year when thinking about what to pair with my aunt’s traditional Thanksgiving dressing.”

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen 5.8% ABV
Whitaker describes this Märzen as “easy to drink, yet it always keeps you interested.” The Oktoberfest-ready bevvy has a deep and inviting flavor profile with a malty nose and soft dryness resulting from long maturation.

Saint Bernardus Tripel 8% ABV
Although this light blonde ale isn’t a typical fall pick, Whitaker seems to always find himself gravitating towards it as temperatures drop. “In my opinion, it’s the perfect representation of what a Belgian- style Tripel should be.”

Tom Marin

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Tom Marin
Upward Projects – Phoenix, Arizona

In Marin’s eyes, new breweries, beers, and experimental flavors are a welcome part of the changing of the seasons.

Cigar City Guayabera Citra Pale Ale 6.5% ABV
Hailing from Tampa, Florida, this exciting new beer—and brewer—does not disappoint. “With beautiful aromas and flavors of bright berries, lime leaf and tangerine, Guayabera is perfectly refreshing. Backed with a beautiful bready malt bill and an exoskeleton of hop bitterness and structure provided by the citra hop, the Guayabera has you covered.”

Almanac Passion Project 6.5% ABV
“I love seeing breweries play with traditional wine making processes, and Almanac does just that. By barrel-aging many of their beers in oak barrels it imparts beautiful notes of vanilla and spice, and allows all the beautiful yeasts to do their beer wizardry. Showing great complexity with an array of aromas and flavors including passionfruit, ginger and grains of paradise, this sour will be a beautiful addition to any fall meal.”

Dogfish Head Romantic Chemistry IPA 7.2% ABV
“A true balanced and charismatic beer that is both refreshing and romantic all at once.” Brewed with mango, apricots and ginger, this playful IPA flirts with taste buds in all the right ways.

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