Fall is a great time of year. In Charleston, it means you can be outside for more than five minutes without having to bring a change of clothes. In beer stores, it usually means you’ll find seasonal beers with cute names packed with warm spices more befitting a pie than a lager. So, let’s look at some great brews for fall-drinking that you can find on shelves right now, and hold the whipped cream.
Since the summer heat seems to stick around in Charleston longer every year, you probably want to keep some select warm weather beers around. Probably something with a good body and maybe with a little sweetness. Westbrook made a splash this summer with its Key Lime Pie Gose, a mellowed-out version of their wildly-popular salty beer. Honestly, I prefer it over the classic. You may still be able to snag some in cans, or head to Westbrook’s Mt. Pleasant tasting room. Compare it and the original to Evil Twin’s Don No, a Berliner Weisse which Westbrook brews for the prolific gypsy at Evil Twin. You’ll get a slightly wheatier, citrus taste compared to the Goses, perfect for an Indian Summer evening. You’ll also find Don No available locally in 22 oz. bottles.
When you do go out looking for an Oktoberfest this year, also look for beers labeled Marzen. In most cases, they’re essentially the same thing: a lighter beer suitable for high-volume production/consumption that’s actually brewed in the spring to beat the summer heat. Weihenstephaner’s Festbier is close to what you might find in the tents at Oktoberfest. The veteran-owned Service Brewing Co. out of Savannah puts a hoppier twist on their Teufel Hunden seasonal. You’ll get some of the lighter flavors of a traditional Oktoberfest with a thick head that comes at you more like a full-bodied lager than a drinkable, 5.4 percent brew. Teufel Hunden is also available locally in 22 oz. bottles.
For something darker, head over to COAST Brewing Co. to try their Event Horizon. Brewed with Cascadian hops, this black IPA is a nice change of pace coming out of the lighter, hoppy drinkers you grab in the summer.
If you’re just out of your gourd craving a pumpkin beer this fall, grab a bottle of Southern Tier’s Warlock. Before you even take a sip, you get a surprising and comforting roasted pumpkin smell from Warlock. Go ahead, take another sniff. The American double stout uses its 10 percent abv. to bring some oaky, vanilla flavors that reveal some nutty, pumpkin seed tastes that finish pretty sweet.