RICHMOND, Va. — Fall is a fine time to sample a wide variety of craft beers, because no matter what your autumnal activity there is likely to be a seasonal beer to make it better.
Thankfully, they pair well with the foods we tend to crave as the temperatures drop and the leaves get their color.
So to help you usher in fall, we've gathered a list of some favorite autumn-friendly craft brews that are more widely available, then we clustered according to the festivities they pair best with.
• PUMPKIN ALE (from Schlafly Beer in St. Louis, Mo.)
Style: Pumpkin ale
Alcohol: 8 percent
Notes: Pounds of pumpkin are combined with clove, cinnamon and nutmeg to create what Schlafly says has been referred to as "liquid pumpkin pie." This full-bodied, deep amber ale is ideal for a Halloween party, pumpkin carving and other autumn celebrations. Goes particularly well with apple pie and smoked meats.
• PUNKIN ALE (from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del.)
Style: Spiced brown ale
Alcohol: 7 percent
Notes: Named after the annual Punkin Chunkin Festival held near Lewes, Del., the weekend after Halloween, Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale is a go-to fall beer. While other pumpkin beers can be overpowering with their spices, Punkin Ale is first and foremost a brown ale, but is complemented with more subtle flavors of pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. It loves roast meats and sharp cheddar.
• GREEN BULLET (from Green Flash Brewing Co. in San Diego, Calif.)
Style: Triple IPA
Alcohol: 10.1 percent
Notes: The beginning of fall usually ushers in mostly malt-heavy beers for Oktoberfest and other autumn festivities, but there are still IPAs out there for those who enjoy hoppy beers. Green Flash's Green Bullet is a combination of New Zealand-grown Pacific Gem and Green Bullet hops that yields a concoction that starts out sweet with the tastes of pine, citrus, mango and pineapple, but finishes on the bitter side. It likes big flavors, so try some wedges of those apples you just picked along with some charcuterie, such as prosciutto or serrano ham.
• BEST BROWN ALE (from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Mich.)
Style: Brown ale
Alcohol: 5.8 percent
Notes: Brown ales walk the line between medium-bodied malty-heavy beers and stronger beers such as porters or stouts. Bell's version of this traditional style is highlighted by toasted malts that impart subtle sweet cocoa flavors that are balanced with mild, floral hop flavors and a nutty finish. Match it up with roasted pork, grilled salmon, meatloaf and aged Gouda.