It’s the first day of October, and fall here in New England is in full swing. There are few better ways to celebrate autumn than with a seasonal beer, preferably enjoyed outside in the crisp air surrounded by foliage. While pumpkin beer is a fall staple, some of our local North Shore breweries are looking outside the box this season, concocting autumn themed Märzens, porters, and even IPAs. Get ready to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend with a unique new craft brew in hand.
True North Ale
Season of the Witch
This season, Ipswich’s True North Ale Company has created an alternative to the classic fall beer. Season of the Witch is a hazy, juicy, double dry-hopped IPA, with flavors like passionfruit, mango, and pineapple, and a soft mouthfeel. “Fall seasonals have been typically pumpkin beers in recent years, but folks will find this one quite different,” says Jake Rogers, founder and chief of brewery operations at True North Ales. “It is a great patio beer.”
Marblehead artist Amy Hourihan created the artwork on Season of the Witch’s can. You can snag Season of the Witch in cans or kegs at stores or at the True North taproom.
Essex County Brewing Company
Excursion, Shadows After Dark
Essex Brewing in Peabody has two new beers this season—an Oktoberfest and an imperial stout. Their Oktoberfest, Excursion, is a helles lager, a traditional pale German beer from Munich. Shadows After Dark is an imperial stout, a strong, dark brew whose red and black label is a tribute to Salem High School colors.
Bent Water Brewing
Fire Barrel Red IPA, Boris
Each fall, Bent Water Brewing in Lynn brings back their Fire Barrel Red India Pale Ale, a hoppy red brew with warm, spicy notes, “brewed to match the fiery splendor of autumn in New England. Also releasing in October is Boris, a peanut butter and chocolate porter, just in time to pair with your Halloween candy. You can pick up beers at their Lynn taproom, or check their website to find a retail location near you.
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Pumpkin Porter, Chucktoberfest
This year’s BONS winner for Best Gastro Pub, Ipswich Ale Brewery, puts out two solid seasonal staples each year: their pumpkin porter and their Oktoberfest variation. They brew a traditional brown porter with real pumpkin and pumpkin spice with notes of caramel, clove, and nutmeg, while Chucktoberfest is a classic easy drinking German Märzen with a biscuity malt flavor and a hoppy finish. (The can art depicts the Charles River—get it?)
Spicket River Brewery
Smash dem Pumpkins
Looking for a classic autumn brew? Look no further than this Lawrence brewery’s Smash dem Pumpkins, a full-bodied pumpkin ale bursting with pie spices. Their taproom is open for takeout cans Monday through Thursday from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8:00 p.m.
Amesbury’s Barewolf brews up this Oktoberfest lagerbier each fall, “when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars.” The changing of the seasons calls for this traditional libation, rich in malt with a hoppy bitterness. Enjoy this and other brews at their outdoor biergarten, open Wednesday through Sunday evenings.
Oak & Iron Brewing
Wacko Jacko, Oaktoberfest
Although they can’t host their annual Oaktoberfest celebration this year, Andover’s hometown brewery is still making two of their fall classics. Wacko Jacko, much like the name implies, brings seasonal charm with pumpkin, maple syrup, warm spices, and molasses. Oaktoberfest, a classic Märzen lager, delivers all that malt flavor in a red hued, slightly sweet brew. Visit their outdoor patio, or pick up cans to go Thursdays through Sundays.