With leafers arriving in droves to take in the changing colors of the trees, you New Englanders are prepping for the early onset of winter and celebrating the return of Tom Brady. The New England area is one of the best places to try some fall brews since you’ll taste some authentic local autumnal ingredients in each sip, and it’s generally a great place to experience the season. If you relax and take in the vibrant, colorful leaves on a cool day while sipping a delicious harvest ale, it’s hard to argue with the perfection of fall in New England, even if you hate the Red Sox. Here are seven local beers in the region worth a try:
1. Long Trail Brewing Company Imperial Pumpkin (Bridgewater Corners, VT)
This is like a more refined, elevated version of the regular pumpkin ales you can get in any beer aisle across the country. It has similar elements, with notes of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, but the malts and hops are more abundant, leaving the Imperial Pumpkin with a slightly bitter kick and a higher alcohol content.
2. Fisherman’s Imperial Pumpkin Stout, Cape Ann Brewing Company (Gloucester, MA)
Registering such a high ABV, this is a robust, bold pumpkin stout that’s not for the faint of heart. Lovers of the style will fully appreciate it, but less experienced drinkers may not. This creamy jet-black brew uses pumpkin and other spices to combat the high alcohol content, making it surprisingly easy and enjoyable to drink.
3. Roadsmary’s Baby, Two Roads Brewing Company (Stratford, CT)
With such an awesome name, this is the beer you should be enjoying while watching horror films or making jack-o'-lanterns this October. It’s also got a bit of a twist, naturally—it’s aged in rum barrels, which adds notes of vanilla, oak, and, of course, rum, among the pumpkin, cinnamon, and other spices already in the ale. There’s a lot going on, so pay attention.
4. Thomas Hooker Octoberfest Lager, Thomas Hooker Brewing Company (Bloomfield, CT)
This is an extremely well-done take on the classic Marzen-style Oktoberfest lagers that have been brewed for hundreds of years. Thomas Hooker perfects the slow fermentation and maturation process in this beer, which mixes seven imported German malts with three different kinds of hops to arrive at a smooth, crisp taste.
5. Berkshire Oktoberfest Lager, Berkshire Brewing Company (South Deerfield, MA)
Master of classic European seasonals like Hefeweizen and Scotch ale, Berkshire’s Oktoberfest is another fall session brew worth considering. Characterized by a complex, malty, caramel flavor, it’s set apart from other fest brews by the extra spices and increased hoppiness that add to the taste, while also packing more alcohol than your average Oktoberfest lager.
6. Great Pumpkin Ale, Cambridge Brewing Company (Cambridge, MA)
This well-known, locally celebrated pumpkin ale is organic and utilizes locally grown pumpkins and barley. Cambridge was one of the first microbreweries to bring the style back into the fold in the early 1990s, and it has continued making its delicious, straightforward pumpkin ale with the same recipe to this day. This brew generally lets the pumpkin flavor speak for itself, with minor hints of other spices to complement it.
7. Pumpkinhead Ale, Boston Beer Works (Boston, MA)
This beer is a longtime regional favorite, and true Bostonians know they can grab a pint just across the street from Fenway before a Sox game. Glasses are traditionally garnished with cinnamon and sugar on the rim to bring out a true pumpkin pie-like flavor. The ale is characterized by a smooth, mild pumpkin flavor with toasted malts and enough bitter notes to balance out all the sweetness.