If you've noticed any caution signs in your local beer aisle lately, it's likely due to the bulging shelves full of pumpkin beers. As case after case of double-pumpkin ales and Halloween lagers roll off the trucks from around the country and onto the heaving planks that support your local beer supply, things can certainly start to feel a bit overwhelming. So what's a fall beer aficionado to do, when the weather has turned away from hoppy summer styles but it's still too sunny for the ink-black stouts and porters?
Enter The Bruery, Orange County's answer to everything awesome in the world of craft beer. Their expansive line up of local brews runs the gamut from fruity saisons to the highly anticipated yearly unveiling of their mega-heavy Black Tuesday bottles, so it's no surprise that they'd put an interesting twist on fall's gourd-heavy lineup of brews. Hence their popular fall release Autumn Maple, a dark, 10% ABV bottle for cold nights with friends, or perhaps even around the Thanksgiving table.
As a recent addition to the store shelves, it's likely you may have overlooked the unassuming 750ml bottle with the deep red label. If anything, the strong maple leaf logo might have left you convinced it was brewed in Quebec by those crafty Unibroue folks from Chambly. No, this dark seasonal is homegrown, with a deep sweetness and thicker pour that will have you looking to the mountains instead of towards the beach. Each batch is brewed with 17 lbs. of yams, which cleverly stand in for all those poor holiday beer pumpkins. The results are sweet and slightly earthy, with a strong sense of molasses, cinnamon, vanilla and the namesake maple syrup. This is the type of beer that will leave your mouth wearing a sweater.
Thankfully, there's enough of a Belgian-style backbone to keep this beer on the up and up. The traditional bready, yeasty flavors from across the Atlantic finish off the taste, giving you the bold sensation that you may have just captured Thanksgiving in a bottle. And with not a pumpkin in sight. Perhaps the best part is the bottle-conditioning, with gives off a nice head and ensures a little bit of bounce in your tulip glass. Or glasses, really. Autumn Maple is a beer to be split amongst friends and family alike. At 10% ABV, you certainly could get nice and campfire-toasty by yourself, but there's something so sweet about splitting a bottle or two of fall's finest once the thermometer dips. For The Bruery's Autumn Maple fall release, the only pairing you need is a friend to share it with.
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