Fall is that magical time of year when people break out their sweaters, the leaves change color, and beer takes a chewy, spicy turn for the dark. Seasonals are nothing new to the craft beer world, but every year there is a challenge to come up with something new or improve upon last year’s brew. This year, some of the Hudson Valley’s finest brewing operations have outdone themselves to create a bevy of beers you’ll be happy to savor all through jacket weather.
Courtesy of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
Let’s start out with one of the heavy-hitters. Captain Lawrence in Elmsford has released their quintessential pumpkin beer, Autumn Blaze. A malty ale brewed with puréed pumpkin right in the mash, this beer has notes of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon that basically make it liquid pumpkin pie. (Mind you, a 5% ABV liquid pumpkin pie.)
444 Saw Mill River Rd., Elmsford, 914.741.2337
While this Poughkeepsie farm-based brewing company also has a pumpkin offering — (Honey Pumpkin Lover: fire-roasted pumpkin and honey, aged and beautifully dark at 7%) — Tiny Acorn is their masterpiece. Originally released last year, this “wild ale” is light and tart, and with flavors of acorn squash, lemongrass, coriander, and wild carrot seed it manages to be distinctly autumnal without jumping entirely onto the pumpkin spice bandwagon. It’s sold on tap in their tasting tent and is available to take home in 1.5 liter magnum bottles, perfect for sharing around the dinner table.
115 Underhill Rd., Poughkeepsie, 765.307.8589
Courtesy Broken Bow Brewery
Tuckahoe’s Broken Bow Brewery has created a heady, cold-weather potable as satisfying as hot chocolate. Described as “a velvety winter seasonal,” it’s actually perfect for crisp fall evenings at the table or around a fire in the backyard. It’s smooth and bitter, with a taste of cocoa upfront and a nutty finish. Traditionalists will also enjoy the brew that inspired the family-owned brewery: Pumpkin Spiced Oktoberfest. A nice, malty lager with biscuit and toffee notes, at 6.5% it’s a solid choice if Nick’s is a little too ‘hazelnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire’ for your autumn.
173 Marbledale Rd., Tuckahoe, 914.268.0900
If you like your beers dark, chewy, and powerful, this is the panda for you. A take-off on their Velvet Panda stout, Mill House Brewing Company brewed up this Russian imperial stout with plenty of malt, barley, and oats, and a touch of sweetness from blackstrap molasses. It’s got chocolate and coffee notes, and like any good (barley) wine comes with a recommended imbibing temperature: 45º-55º.
289 Mill St., Poughkeepsie, 845.485.2739
We know what you’re thinking: “Two panda-themed beers back-to-back?” We know, weird, right? But we can’t not tell you about this delicious variant on Rushing Duck’s classic Sad Panda Cider. It’s made from the same local apples from Roe’s Orchard as their Sad panda, with all of its fruity notes like cantaloupe, peach, and mango, but the additions of honey and blueberry make this a delightful transition from light, summer drinks into crisp autumnal flavors. (There’s also a dry-hopped variant called Bad Panda you should check out as well.) As the weather cools, definitely take a crack at their Chained to the Dead imperial milk stout. It’s exactly the kind of beer you’d expect to have a tie-in with a local metal band: heavy, dark with cocoa and coffee hints, and utterly pounding at 10.1% ABV.
1 Battiato Ln., Chester, 845.610.5440
Just released at their “Wurst Day In September” event, this beautiful golden brew goes great with schnitzel, barbecue, really anything. If it’s a particularly chilly day, we might also suggest Hudson Ale Works’ Coconut Vanilla Stout. It’s only 5.5% but it’s so deliciously dark you can’t even see the logo on the side of your glass. (Well, you will once you empty your pint a bit.)
Also note-worthy, next month Hudson Ale Works will be releasing a Bourbon barrel-aged maple strong ale going by the moniker “Sapdafied.” Cruise by starting in November to try this 9% ABV maple beast.
17 Milton Ave., Highland, 845.384.ALE1
Hudson Valley Brewery just released three seasonal delights; please don’t make us choose. Noumena is a double dry hopped IPA clocking in at a solid 7% ABV. Amorphia is a sour IPA at a respectable 6%, and Feel No Way is the lightest of the bunch, a pilsner weighing in at just 5%. All three are available exclusively at the brewery, Noumena and Amorphia in four-packs and Feel No Way as six-packs. These just got released on October 7, so come in and grab them before they’re gone!
7 East Main St., Beacon, 845.218.9156
Feel like we missed anything? We’re always on the lookout for new local beer! Let us know here or drop us a line on social with your hoppy hometown favorites.