After a long, awesome Summer of drinking because it's hot and beautiful, it's time for Portland to drink because it's raining and there's nothing better to do. Luckily, along with testing your rain gear, Fall also means amazing beers using seasonal ingredients to their maximum potential (suck it, pumpkin pie). That's why we've pulled five local beer aficionados out of their SAD counseling groups to name their favorites.
This Burger Weighs 15 Pounds
Brandon Wise, Oregon Bartenders Guild President and Bar Manager at Imperial & Portland Penny Diner Widmer Brothers Okto Festival Ale (Altbier, 5.3% ABV) Wise says: "Call me old-fashioned, but I like my seasonal beers to still actually taste like beer. That's why you'll (more often than not) find a pint of Widmer's Okto in my hand this Fall, with a rich maltiness and overtones of Alchemy and Willamette hops. You can keep the vanilla-spiced-hazelnut-whathaveyou, unless you're making one of those fancy lattes with the whipped cream and nutmeg. I'll take a Widmer Okto, thank you very much."
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (Pumpkin Ale, 7% ABV) Wise says: "All due credit to the amazing local breweries we have here in PDX, but Dogfish Head's Punkin is one of the few seasonals I look forward to every year. It's full-bodied, with a healthy yet balanced hoppiness to this brown ale brewed with pumpkin meat (so you know it's good!). Before you get all locavore on me, crack one open while you're watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and judge for yourself."
Matt Brown, Co-Owner/Bar Master at Bunk & Trigger and Bladen County Records Co-Conspirator Double Mountain IRA (American IPA, 6.5% ABV) Matt says: "Double Mountain IRA is the king of Fall/Winter beer. A brilliant and balanced hop and malt India Red Ale."
Burnside Brewing Oatmeal Pale Ale (American Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV) Matt says: "Burnside Brewing's Oatmeal Pale Ale has a banging oaty, hoppy flavor… It's a perfect pale. It's also a great [beer for following certain popular plant-based recreation activities]."
Ezra Johnson-Greenough, Founder of The New School beer blog, Portland Fruit Beer Fest, and Portland Beer Week New Belgium Coconut Curry Hefeweizen (Herbed/Spiced Beer, 8% ABV) Ezra says: "Coconut beers are sexy hot right now (see Stone Brewing's w00t Stout), and New Belgium Brewing was bold enough to add curry to the mix of the usually light and refreshing Hefeweizen style of beer. A 22oz bottle of this beer at 8% ABV will make anyone want to remove their top again before Summer is completely over."
Double Mountain Killer Green (American Double/Imperial IPA, 7% ABV) & Killer Red (American IPA, 7.2% ABV) Ezra says: "Some people enjoy sickly sweet Oktoberfests and cloyingly spiced pumpkin beers during the Fall, but I cannot in good conscience recommend such offerings. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have these things called "hops" that are grown right here, and they offer a citrusy, fruity, sometimes spicy bitterness more attuned to a mature palate. Fall is hop harvest season, and it's the only time one can get beers made with freshly picked hops that add even more zesty, fresh-cut floral flavors. Double Mountain makes two fresh hop beers, both amped-up versions of their popular IRA and Hop Lava."
Elle Stanger, Exotic Magazine Columnist, Lucky Devil Dancer, and Beer Queen Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale (American Brown Ale, 5.5% ABV) Elle says: "It's red in color and slightly bitter, with hints of caramel, so it's best sipped by fireside. Sipping is one way to ensure moderation, right?"
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale (Pumpkin Ale, 5.7% ABV) Elle says: "Blue Moon claims it was 'the first nationally available pumpkin ale'. The Harvest Pumpkin Pale Ale tastes warm and comforting without being overly sweet and heavy. I'm typically a fan of darker beers, but this sits just perfectly on my palate."
Jacob Grier, Liquidity Preference Writer and Bar Manager at Metrovino Breakside Session Brown (English Dark Mild Ale, 4% ABV) Jacob says: "I drink a lot of dark beers regardless of the season, but fall seems like an especially good time for brown ales. Breakside's Session Brown is a really nice expression of the style: a little bit malty, not too hoppy, and great for laid-back drinking at just 4% ABV. If I were sneaking a growler into the park, it would probably be full of this."
Upright Late Harvest (Saison/Farmhouse Ale, 7% ABV) Jacob says: "Upright's take on the brown ale spent almost a year in rum barrels and is spiced with cinnamon, allspice, and cubeb pepper. Brewer Alex Ganum has a skilled hand with botanicals, and they complement the malty beer without at all dominating the taste. The barrel-aging makes it silky smooth. A 750ml bottle is perfect for sharing -- or not."