10 must-try fall beers from New Jersey’s best craft breweries
Leaves are falling, pumpkins are being picked, football is back on T.V. You ceremoniously dust off your favorite hoodie and zipping it up feels like the warm embrace of a dear old friend. Pumpkin spiced everything is everywhere. It's fall in New Jersey.
If you're a beer lover such as myself then you can't help but get excited about all the different seasonal styles that are available this time of year. Oktoberfests with their very flavorful but light and drinkable lagers. Of course there are the pumpkin ales, a style that almost seems like a requirement for any craft brewery these days. The Belgian-style dubbels and tripels, dark stouts, harvest ales... the list goes on and on.
Luckily for us in NJ there are plenty of great local breweries crafting some serious seasonal brews! Here's our list of the 10 must-try fall beers available right now throughout the great Garden State. Cheers!
Carton set out to create a different kind of pumpkin beer, one that doesn't focus on the pumpkin pie spices typically used in pumpkin ales. In their version they added roasted pumpkin meat (cooked with orange oil, pink peppercorns and candied ginger) to their existing cream ale recipe. The result: notes of pumpkin and orange are balanced by a hint of spiciness from the peppercorns and ginger. 9.0% ABV
Demented celebrates the culmination of the New Jersey growing season with their Moon Reaper autumn seasonal. To brew this ale they use five different malts of barley and wheat plus locally grown hops from Oast House Farm in Wrightstown. The beer has the color of fallen leaves, notes of caramel, and a bright piney finish from the freshly harvested hops. 6% ABV
Spellbound uses their barleywine recipe as the base for this but they brew it lower in alcohol, bringing it down from 10% to 8.1% ABV. The addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and ginger make this a celebration of fall. The result is a medium bodied, malt forward ale with great aromas of pumpkin spice. 8.1% ABV
This oak aged sour starts out as a dry wheat ale fermented with lactobacillus and saccharomyces and is later fermented a second time with brettanomyces while in oak barrels. They use New Jersey grown cranberries to add even more tartness and complexity, plus it gives the beer a nice pink hue. This is a very limited release so if you want to serve this for thanksgiving try to grab it now. 4.6% ABV
Caramel malts, brick oven roasted butternut squash, and maple syrup are added to their pilsner base to make a one-of-a-kind autumn beer. An imperial butternut squash ale that is spiced with vanilla beans, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice. Enjoyable from early fall through well into the colder months. 9.2% ABV
If you've ever been to an Oktoberfest then you know what to expect from Flying Fish's Oktoberfish. Before refrigeration it was very hard to brew beer in the summer months due to bacterial infection and spoilage. Brewing ended in the spring and began again in the fall. These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’'d keep. Oktoberfish is a tribute to this classic way of brewing. A "fest style beer" using European malts, hops and yeast. Very drinkable, reddish in color, with a nice subtle malt and hop flavor. 6.0% ABV
This stout has a complex grain bill consisting of pilsner, carafa, caramunich, roasted barley and oats. It's brewed with locally roasted coffee from Avalon Coffee which gives the beer notes of cocoa and a pleasant nuttiness. It's the perfect fall dessert beer. Pair it with apple/pumpkin pie, cider doughnuts, or some of the kids trick or treating candy, if they're willing to share that is. 4.6% ABV
Devil's Nectah is Flounder's collaboration with Samuel Adams, made possible after winning their National Brewing and Business Experienceship Award. Inspired by local produce, they added cranberries from Massachusetts to a lager brewed with honey harvested from south Jersey. The result is an amber lager with bright, tart flavors from the cranberries and a soft, slightly sweet finish from the honey. Note: don't go looking for this one at the brewery, a stipulation in NJ beer regulations prevents Flounder from selling this beer at their brewery as it wasn't actually brewed there. Try to catch it at one of the local bars or at a tap takeover. 5.2% ABV
Some Belgian-style tripels are able to hide their high alcohol content very well and Trebel Hook is no exception. Pushing barleywine levels at 10.5% ABV this is a sipper that you'll have to actively remind yourself to simply slow down and sip. It has a hazy straw color, and a nice full body with aromas of fruit esters. Very drinkable, so don't say we didn't warn you when you finish your first glass before you know it. 10.5% ABV
Uncharted Territory is an Oktoberfest lager that is fermented in oak. Golden-honey in color with a milky, white head that dissipates quickly. It's a tasty fall lager with notes of nuts and roasted malt and a slightly bitter finish from a good amount of hops. It's a little more hoppy than your typical Oktoberfest style beer yet still very sessionable. 5.2% ABV