Friday, October 27, 2017

Cheers, Witches! My Favorite Booze for Fall


When I turned 30, I accepted the fact that I only liked shitty beer: PBR, Coors, the occasional Yuengling... I was determined not to spend adulthood feeling ashamed of my lack of beer sophistication.

And then I learned about hops.

I know, I know, where had I been? More specifically, I learned what hops tasted like - & that not all beers were hoppy. Once I was able to make that identification, a whole new world - a world of beer! - opened up to me. Since then, I've come to love kolshes, saisons, & hefeweisens, especially, & I don't mind a lager or a witbier; I also know to stay far away from IPAs, pale ales, & stouts. Now that I know what I like & don't like... well, let's just say I haven't ordered a Miller Lite for awhile.

I love just about everything about autumn, but now I can add another to the list: Fall booze is the best booze. I love the flavors of cinnamon, yam, maple, pumpkin, & other cozy smells-like-a-candle notes that tend to show up in autumn beers.

Yet Another Pumpkin Beer (Sibling Revelry)

I love the name of this one, as though the brewery is well aware that we're all rolling our eyes at pumpkin-flavored items by now. And yet... while I don't usually like pumpkin beer, I love this one. It tastes much lighter than standard pumpkin beers, not as thick or syrupy, although it's finished with local maple syrup from a farm in Mantua, OH. It has the body of a summer beer with the taste of an an autumn one - the best of both worlds!

Bourbon (Watershed Distillery) with local apple cider

I love bourbon but have never been an on-the-rocks kinda gal. In fact, I can't figure out what I like to mix with my bourbon. At a bar, I can always identity a bourbon-based cocktail I'll like, but at home, I don't have the patience to put together a fancy mixed drink. Enter Watershed Distillery, a Columbus-based distributor whose bourbon tastes smooth & silky, with a hint of vanilla & caramel. Mix it with local apple cider from Ohio apple farms, & I've found my new favorite kick-back-&-take-a-breath drink of the season.

Yammy Yammy Sweet Potato Ale (Platform Beer Co.)

Nothing about the descriptor "vegetable beer" sounds tasty, but this sweet potato ale is a light, tasty, & creative twist on the standard pumpkin beers everyone's downing this time of year. It's not too heavy (are you sensing a theme in the kinds of beer I like?), made with roasted sweet potatoes & a spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, & clove. Unfortunately, more than one gives me some serious acid reflux, but the one I drink is always the best beer of the evening. 

Spiced Pumpkin Mead (Western Reserve Meadery)

By now, I've told you about how much I love this local meadery, which recently won a Best of Cleveland award. Last month, I attended the tapping of their autumn mead flavor, spiced pumpkin, (which was being served with a dessert pairing from Sweet Costo, a local baker specializing in booze-based dessert bites. Yummm!) It's the perfect drink to settle in with on a brisk fall night while watching Game of Thrones reruns.

Waffle Sauce Maple Pecan Imperial Brown Ale (Rusty Rail Brewing)

This is the only drink on the list not made here in Ohio, but it's made in the boonies of Pennsylvania, which almost counts, right? I know the term "waffle sauce" makes it sound like it ought to be the sweetest beer ever consumed, but somehow it's not. It is sweet, but not in a sickly, sticky way, which makes it a great dessert beer or only-drink-of-the-night beer if you're looking for something cozy alongside a meal. I've never had it for brunch, but I'd like to. Bloody Mary who?

Have you tried any of these? What's your favorite drink to sip when temperatures drop? 

Disclaimer: The kind folks at Watershed Distillery gifted me a complimentary bottle of bourbon & two whiskey glasses for taste-testing & review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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