Spiced ale, 6%
Garden City, ID
Ok, so we’re breaking our “no pumpkin ale” rule on this one, but only because, unlike so many of its gourd-heavy brothers, Evil Harvest’s pumpkin flavor is muted and in the background, allowing the spices to come forward without getting overwhelming. This is a pumpkin beer for people who hate pumpkin beers, but also a spiced ale for people who love them.
Brown ale, 5.5%
I’ll just come out and say it: Brown ales usually suck, and it’s almost entirely because brewers are less comfortable with the style than their hop-driven brethren. But that also means when you come across a good one, you should always take note, and Granola Brown is one of those cases. Light chocolate, caramel, and nutty flavors make this the polar opposite of a bitter hop bomb. It also helps that brown ales are widely seen as a universal food-pairing beer, so if you’re ever stumped with what to drink at your potluck dinner party, this is a safe bet!
Snake River has held a special place in my heart ever since I got the idea to get into the beer business while drinking a pint at their brewery. But with temperatures dropping and need for great beers that aren’t hop bombs on the rise, Zonker stands on its own merits as simply an excellent foreign-style stout: dry, roasty, velvety, and subtly chocolatey where the bitterness is balanced by just a touch of sweetness. It’s the secret ingredient in (and alongside) my chili. Which I guess isn’t a secret now.