Fall’s Bounty: Craft Brewers Welcome the Harvest

Written by Meghan Storey for craftbeer.com

As we look forward to fall, anticipating cooler temperatures, football, and holiday meals with family and friends, American craft brewers are also hard at work personifying fall’s flavors in their latest seasonal releases. With fall-themed seasonals, craft brewers focus on using the ingredients typical of the season, including pumpkin, spices and freshly harvested malts, barley and hops.

We asked Brewers Association member breweries to send us information on their latest fall seasonal releases, and here’s what they had to say:

Big Boss Brewing | Harvest Time Spiced Pumpkin Ale
Raleigh, NC

A subtly spiced fall ale brewed with real pumpkin that will evoke memories of holidays and family. Pairs well with zombie rituals, vampire hunting and walks in a graveyard.

Availability: NC

Blue Point Brewing Company | Blue Point Pumpkin Ale
Long Island, NY

Brewed with pumpkins from only the most sincere patches, this seasonal brew is golden orange, crisp and delicious, with an innocent hint of cinnamon and nutmeg that articulates our favorite season. Get it while you can. Just like the leaves, Pumpkin Ale is gone after Thanksgiving.

Availability: CT, DE, FL, GA, MA, MD, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA

Bonfire Brewing | Gyptoberfest
Eagle, CO

Gyptoberfest is brewed with Pilsner, Munich, Vienna, and Crystal 80L malts, with a healthy dose of Hallertau and Nugget hops. Originally brewed in 2011 for the first annual Town of Gypsum Oktoberfest, Gyptoberfest was a huge success and is available again this year to celebrate the beginning of fall in Colorado.

Availability: Gypsum Oktoberfest on September 29, 2012, and while it lasts at our tap room.

Cambridge Brewing Company | The Great Pumpkin Ale
Cambridge, MA

The Great Pumpkin Ale is brewed with locally grown, organic sugar pumpkins from The Farm School (Athol, Mass.), and Wilson Farm (Lexington, Mass.), and locally grown and malted barley from Valley Malt (Hadley, Mass.). Whole, fresh pumpkins are chopped and shredded by hand and added directly to the mash tun, contributing fresh pumpkin flavor to this beer, augmented by a subtle touch of cinnamon and allspice.

Availability: MA

Carolina Brewery | Oktoberfest
Pittsboro, NC

Inspired by the principle of karma and the wonderful farmhouse and pale ales of Belgium, we have created this bright and estery Belgian-style ale with a beautiful amber hue. Our goal was to create a sessionable fall brew that was different from all the others!

Availability: NC, SC

Firestone Walker Brewing Company | Velvet Merlin
Paso Robles, CA

A decadent oatmeal stout teeming with cocoa and espresso aromas. This beer features a rich, dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth-feel and wonderfully dry finish. A judicious addition of Fuggles hops contributes the perfect amount of bitterness to this wonderfully balanced beer.

Availability: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MO, NV, OR, WA

Flying Dog Brewery | Dogtoberfest Marzen
Frederick, MD

Dogtoberfest is brewed with 100 percent imported German ingredients. Dogtoberfest is full-bodied with caramel and graham cracker sweetness, light toast notes, and a clean, dry finish.

Availability: CA, DC, MD, MN, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TX, VA, WV

Full Sail Brewing Company | Big Daddy J’s Malt Liquor
Hood River, OR

Big Daddy J, developed by Assistant Brewing Supervisor, Jason Muñoz, is a malt liquor that is simple and delicious. Golden in color and hopped with Hallertau Hersbrucker hops, Big Daddy J is perfectly balanced so that it remains clean and drinkable despite an eight percent ABV. A portion of the proceeds from Big Daddy J will support Helping Hands Against Violence.

Availability: AK, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID,KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NH NM, NV,NY, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, TX, VA, WA, WY, UT

Highland Brewing Company | Clawhammer Oktoberfest
Asheville, NC

Clawhammer is a lightly colored, but toasty, rich and full-bodied Marzen-style lager, brewed with traditional German malt and the finest noble hops. Clawhammer is named after a protected mountain peak in western North Carolina. All of Highland Brewing’s seasonal beers are named after protected land, and we’ve partnered with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our environment.

Availability: AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN, VA

Huske Hardware House Restaurant and Brewery | Jack’s Honey Badger
Fayetteville, NC

Barrel-aged strong ale brewed with 120 pounds of honey (50 percent wildflower, and 50 percent Dutch Gold Orange Blossom). We are a veteran-owned business and this is the official beer for Fayetteville’s 250 year anniversary, brewed to celebrate the founding of Fayetteville and honor all who have served at Ft. Bragg.

Availability: Huske Hardware House Restaurant and Brewery, The Flying Saucer – Raleigh, and Brewmasters Bar and Grill.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company | Oktoberfest
San Diego, CA

Vienna and Munich malts produce the deep golden color, nutty undertones, and toasted malt flavors characteristic of this renowned Bavarian beer style. Perle hops imported directly from the Hallertau region of Germany give the beer a smooth balanced finish. This celebratory lager puts the ‘fest’ in the month of October.

Availability: CA

Lavery Brewing Company | Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale
Erie, PA

A spiced pumpkin ale brewed with organic spices and local pumpkins. The spice is lighter than most pumpkin ales, making Stingy Jack incredibly drinkable. Named in homage of the Irish legend of the Jack-O-Lantern.

Availability: PA

Mother Earth Brewing | Old Neighborhood
Kinston, NC

Our Old Neighborhood Oatmeal Porter will take you back to the good old days. This classic dark ale is rich and robust, yet silky smooth. Its distinct roasty essence is deliciously balanced with a slight sweetness, creating a porter that boasts intense flavors.

Availability: GA, NC

Nantahala Brewing Company | Trail Magic Aleâ„¢
Bryson City, NC

Every year several thousand ambitious people set out to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) from end to end. For all who attempt a thru-hike, it’s a journey filled with unexpected challenges, perils, surprises and for some, Trail Magic. Known along the AT, Trail Magic is a random act of kindness meant to encourage and relieve thru-hikers during their 2,178-mile journey from Springer Mountain, Ga. to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

With the same spirit of big challenges and a desire to connect our brews with the wilderness that surrounds us, the third in our Trail Magic Aleâ„¢ series, is a Belgian golden strong ale aged in French oak red wine barrels with elderberry.

Availability: Sold exclusively at our Tap Room/Production brewery in Bryson City.

NoDa Brewing Company | Hope’s Stout, Milk Stout
Charlotte, NC

Hope’s Stout was brewed in dedication to an amazing little girl, Hope Stout (Yes, we know, what a great last name). Hope would’ve turned 21 this year and her parents approached us asking for a beer to be made in her honor. Learn about Hope’s story. The beer has a distinctive dark chocolate character that melds well with the roasted notes from the dark malts used in the base beer. To thicken and slightly sweeten the beer, we added lactose sugar, an unfermentable sugar that helps smooth out the mouth-feel.

Availability: NoDa taproom and in kegs throughout the Charlotte metro area.

North Coast Brewing | Grand Cru
Fort Bragg, CA

This beer is brewed with Pilsner malt and added complexity is derived from an addition of agave nectar to the brew kettle. The beer then undergoes an extended period of aging in bourbon barrels. The alcoholic strength is 12.5 percent ABV. This full-bodied, light straw-colored beer features notes of vanilla, tropical fruit and Belgian yeast character. The finish is complex and warm.

Availability: Nationwide

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery | Mecktoberfest
Charlotte, NC

Mecktoberfest is a classic Maerzen-style amber lager: the original Oktoberfest bier and quintessential ueberseasonal. A rich and malty start transitions to a smooth, satisfying finish courtesy of noble Bavarian hops and a flavor profile produced by an outstanding yeast strain from one of the oldest breweries in the world.

Availability: On tap throughout Charlotte, and in growlers and bombers.

Rogue Ales | Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale
Newport, OR

Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale is brewed with the freshest Rogue Farms GYO Dream Pumpkins and GYO Independent Hops grown on the Rogue Micro Hopyard in Independence, Ore. No pumpkin flavoring or pumpkin from a can, just real pumpkins grown on our farm.

Availability: Nationwide

Schlafly Beer | Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
St. Louis, MO

Our Pumpkin Ale has a bold, big pumpkin taste, flavored with pumpkin squash, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. With little bitterness and a malty backbone, the flavor of the pumpkin squash and spices take the lead.

Availability: IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MO, MS, TN

Sebago Brewing Company | Local Harvest Ale
Gorham, ME

Local Harvest Ale is brewed with hops and barley grown in Maine, supported by the clear water of Sebago Lake. Local Harvest Ale is mahogany in color and has an intense bouquet of citrus, pine and lemongrass, which comes from hopping this beer four ways: in the mash, in the kettle, steeped and dry hopped. Please support local agriculture and enjoy the harvest!

Availability: CT, ME, NH, RI, VT

The Shed Restaurant and Brewery | Mountain Ale
Middlebury, VT

This unfiltered English strong ale is a medium to full-bodied ale with pronounced caramel and toffee notes followed by a roasted finish. A moderate hop bitterness is derived from generous kettle additions of Mt. Hood and Northern Brewer hops.

Availability: CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT

Shmaltz Brewing Company | Coney Island Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead®
Brooklyn, NY

Weighing in at 10.83 percent ABV, this burly imperial American bock has aged over five months in Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Barrels. With such a limited-edition production run, Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead® is as rare and special as it is highly coveted.

Availability: Nationwide

Stone Brewing Co. | Double Bastard Ale
Escondido, CA

This deep amber brew is a heavy, bitter, beast of a beer, and absolutely not for the benighted masses. We brewed it just for us—and for those very few worthy individuals who have the temerity, nay, the arrogance, to rise above the quagmire of the mundane.

Double Bastard Ale was originally released to commemorate the one-year anniversary of its predecessor, Arrogant Bastard Ale. It was an amped up version of the beer.

Availability: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA

Sun King Brewing Company | Oktoberfest
Indianapolis, IN

A classic German-style lager that is perfect for the change of seasons and goes great with fall grilling. This year we are giving Sun King Oktoberfest its very own can, whereas in the past we have released it in our customizable seasonal can.

Availability: IN

Swamp Head Brewery | Saison du Swamp
Gainesville, FL

Summers here in north Florida are hot and humid—not exactly the conditions that most ale yeasts prefer—except for the yeast used in the Wallonia region of Belgium to produce a refreshing yet complex seasonal ale known as saison. Unlike typical ale yeasts, these little critters like it hot; they do their best work at temperatures above 80°F. So we figured if we have to work in a sweltering swamp environment, why not brew a seasonal ale that enjoys Florida summers too. From the initial aromas of pepper and summer fruits, to the lingering finish with a hint of floral hops, Saison Du Swamp is a refreshing bottle-conditioned ale that can be enjoyed in any season.

Availability: FL

SweetWater Brewing Company | SweetWater Motor Boat
Atlanta, GA

Motor Boat is brewed with Cascade, Sterling and U.S. Golding hops, and dry-hopped with Cascade for a little extra action. Big in body, this unfiltered beer boasts complex malt character.

Availability: Throughout the Southeast

Terrapin Beer Co. | Pumpkinfest
Athens, GA

A German-style beer, brewed with pumpkin and spiced with traditional pumpkin pie spices including cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove. Inspired by the German fest beers, the Pumpkinfest was the eighth beer in Terrapin’s Side Project Series of one time brews. It was so loved that it quickly returned as an annual release in Terrapin’s Seasonal Sessions series.

Availability: AL, FL, GA, NC, NJ, PA, SC, TN, VA


Meghan Storey, the Brewers Association’s Web Editor, has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer for the past four years. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from the University of Mississippi, and has recently relocated to Nashville, TN. She loves to introduce friends to new craft beers and food pairings. Since beginning work on CraftBeer.com she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.

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