In autumn, the season’s best beers are often strong, spicy, malty and earthy — a good complement to the chillier weather and the heavier, often meatier foods we’re eating at this time of year. Think dark, toasty brews beers like stouts and porters, amber ales or IPAs with fresh hops and malt, and full-bodied saisons and festbiers.
We contacted several local East Bay breweries to ask them about their fall releases, whether it be returning seasonal favorites or special limited-edition beers. We chose to feature one beer from each brewery, but this is just a small sampling of what each has to offer this season.
The Bines that Tie, Gilman Brewing, 6% ABV
Gilman’s wet-hopped (meaning, with hops that were still freshly picked and not dried) saison features Santa Rosa-grown hops. This is a limited-edition beer and Gilman is donating 100% of proceeds from sales to charities benefitting the humans and animals affected by the Santa Rosa fires.
Gilman Brewing Company, 912 Gilman St. (between Fifth and Sixth), Berkeley
Rye’d and True, Jupiter, 6.9% ABV
Jupiter’s Rye’d and True is a red ale full of fruity, bitter Citra hops and spicy rye. It’s malty sweet with an earthy finish.
Jupiter Brewing Co., 2181 Shattuck Ave. (near Allston), Berkeley
Goyz N the Hood, Fieldwork Brewing Company, 6.0% ABV
Fieldwork’s holiday ale is not your stereotypical spiced beer. This one has a nice sourness, balanced by bright, fruity notes. Expect flavors of oranges, red currants, raisins, and spicy fresh ginger in this tart brew.
Fieldwork Brewing Company, 1160 Sixth St. (at Harrison), Berkeley
Dark Wing, Drake’s, 7.5% ABV
Drake’s limited-edition IPA features is for those who love earthy, piney IPAs. It boasts notes of crushed pine and a kiss of citrus.
Drake’s Dealership, 2325 Broadway (at 23rd), Oakland
Maerzen, Oakland United Beerworks, 5.9% ABV
This rich, strong amber lager is Oakland United Beerworks’ “West Coast take” on a German Maerzen lager. Expect a hoppy, malty brew.
Oakland United Beerworks, 3775 Alameda Ave. (near Tidal), Oakland
Equinox Biere de Garde, Roses’ Taproom, 8.0% ABV
This Belgian “Biere de Garde” (beer for saving) is brewed with Saison yeast and Brettanomyces (Brett for short, a type of yeast that’s known to make funkier beers), which together, creates a fruity, complex ale. You’ll get aromas of dark cherries, toffee and marzipan.
Roses’ Taproom, 4930 Telegraph Ave. (near 49th), Oakland
Imperial Affliction Imperial Stout, Novel Brewing Company, 10% ABV
Novel releases an imperial stout every Halloween, and this year, it’s a special one. Aged in bourbon barrels for three months, this stout is strong (10% ABV), but the flavor is deceptively mild, with flavor notes of chocolate and coffee and a sweet caramel, vanilla aroma.
Novel Brewing, 6510 San Pablo Ave. (between 65th and 66th), Oakland
Rye’d Piper, Ale Industries, 5.8% ABV
Ale Industries’ fall offering is a red rye ale that has a hop-forward, earthy profile with flavors of caramel, chocolate and roasted malt. But if you’re looking for something a little less autumn, Ale Industries was excited to share the news of its latest brew which bucks the stereotypical autumn flavors: Electric Fantasy is a hazy IPA that’s infused with blueberry. This is a strong, hoppy beer with 8.06% ABV, but it’s also refreshingly juicy.
Ale Industries, 3096 E. 10th St. (near Derby), Oakland
Guava Boat, Temescal Brewing, 5.4% ABV
Here’s another unorthodox fall beer. Temescal Brewing just released its limited edition pale ale called Guava Boat. Available on draft (the four-pack of cans are sold out), it’s what Temescal Brewing founder Sam Gilbert says he’ll be drinking this fall. Made with guava puree, and citra and mosaic hops, this fruity, soft and bright beer with a spritzy carbonation will take you on a tropical vacation on those cold fall days that you’re missing the summer.
Temescal Brewing, 4115 Telegraph Ave. (at 42nd), Oakland
Autumnator Doppelbock, Alameda Island Brewing Company, 7.8% ABV
As its name suggests, this beer is perfect for the fall season. This is a strong, malty and dark lager that will keep you warm and toasty.
Alameda Island Taproom, 1716 Park St. (between Eagle and Buena Vista), Alameda
English Warmer, East Brother Beer, 6.3% ABV
The English Warmer is an exclusive release for East Brother’s taproom. If you’re familiar with East Brother’s English Pale, you’ll recognize its biscuity malt and hop profile, but this dry ale has added spice and fruit flavors. Perfect for warming up on a chilly evening.
East Brother Beer Taproom, 1001 Canal Blvd., Richmond