As you shift your wardrobe from T-shirts to sweaters, breweries across Philadelphia also are reoutfitting their menus. Pumpkin beers, porters, strong pale ales, and other robust options are ready to take over taps as lighter, summertime signatures begin to depart.
The expansive array of new and coming offerings includes not only darker, full-bodied brews, but refreshing sours flavored with seasonal ingredients, like cranberries, cinnamon, and ginger. Get ready to visit your favorite brewery — or gather around the campfire — and take in the changing of the seasons with a just-tapped brew in hand.
Pumpkin meets chocolate in Evil Genius' seasonal 7.8% ABV porter, a rich beer that'll help keep you warm if you decide to venture outside into the brewery's beer garden. The dark, full-bodied ale uses real pumpkin puree in its mash before it gets spiced with the classic pie flavors of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Post-fermentation, dark chocolate goes into the mix, creating an immersive aroma that hits the nose upon first sip.
Available: On tap now
Just in time for football season, Dock Street Brewery has released its newest pale ale, a collaboration with Down the Road Beer Co. Wanting to shed the rivalry between Philly and the city of last year's Super Bowl losers, Dock Street set out to extend a dose of brotherly love to Boston by teaming with one of its favorite breweries from that city. The breweries crafted a golden pale ale infused with orange blossom honey and sencha matcha green tea. The can art, designed by an artist from each city, depicts skylines and iconography of Philly and Boston.
Too soon for Boston beer? Reach for Man Full of Trouble porter, flavored with chocolate malt and hints of espresso. The London-style porter won a bronze medal at last year's Great American Beer Festival.
Available: On tap now
The twin brother owners of Brewery ARS are forgoing pumpkin this season in favor of their much-preferred orange fall treat: sweet potatoes. Maple Hill is a dry, sweet potato and maple syrup saison that gets its driving flavor from a huge batch of sweet potatoes left to roast for several hours in the oven. They're then incorporated during the mashing process; after fermentation, maple syrup is added to give the beer a sugary aroma that evokes images of the owners' New England origins. Also at Brewery ARS, look for Fumus, a maplewood-smoked black ale made with wildflower honey and locally smoked malt, set to be released in cans on Oct. 27.
Ushering us into the holiday season, Roy Pitz is infusing a mega-dose of cranberries in its newest sour ale. The puckery brew starts with a golden sour that was left to age in barrels for more than two years. Cranberries — one pound per gallon — were added to the blended base, which was refermented for four weeks. The result? A reddish golden ale that leans far on both the fruity and sour spectrums. It has an overall dry finish with some funky aromatics thanks to brettanomyces yeast. It will be available on draft as well as by the bottle.
For adventurous drinkers, Urban Village's newest cask-conditioned sour ale brings a touch of pickle juice to your pint glass. The Pickle Jar is full of pickling spices — not only classics like coriander and mustard seeds, but also an array of autumn-inspired seasonings, like cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. For those who aren't pro pickle, try the heavily spiced 7.0% ABV Stingy Jack pumpkin beer, also on the fall menu, as well as a "Rye Bread" IPA using hops, rye malt, and caraway.
An award-winning Baltic porter will be on tap at Bar Hygge this month. The 7.5% ABV beer, made with German Munich and English pale chocolate malts and 50 pounds of romano beans, took home a gold at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. The porter has clean, lager-like flavors, with notes of toffee, cocoa, and biscuits.
Aged for nine months with added wild yeasts, Biere de Cave is a complex, strong farmhouse pale ale perfect for pairing with the first hearty stews of the season. It's just slightly tart, with hints of dried cherry and fig that allow it to stand well alongside cobblers, apple pie, and other fall baked goods. Find it by the bottle and on tap alongside St. Benjamin's River City Oktoberfest, a sessionable lager with an extra-crisp finish thanks to a small dose of American hops.
Love City teamed with New Liberty Distilling to create a new, whiskey-barrel-aged nitro. The stout was aged for two months in the distillery's barrels, infusing notes of vanilla and oak in the creamy beer, already rich with dark chocolate and espresso flavors. It's a prelude to both the imperial stout and winter warmer ale set to follow later in the season.
Farm to Professor is Second District's first beer brewed with hops straight from the brewery's farm. At Second District Vineyard & Hop Farm in Honesdale, hops such as Cascade and Chinook grow in open air, allowing beers like Farm to Professor to develop earthy notes from Pennsylvania's terroir. Farm to Professor is a wet hop harvest ale made with a hearty base of malted barley, oats, and rye, and then brewed with freshly harvested hops. This medium-bodied ale is Second District's first foray into using its own homegrown ingredients, but you can expect many more hyper-local craft creations to come.
Available: On tap now
Aged in chardonnay and sauvignon blanc barrels and conditioned with burgundy truffles, Crime and Punishment's newest saison has a wealth of complexity. The mildly tart beer takes on a robust nutty-meets-earthy quality, developed in part from the truffles and the woodsy Fuggle hops with which it was brewed. Pilsner malt adds a crispness to the beer.
Available: Late October / early November
Yards returns with its seasonal, extra-hoppy Rival IPA. The amber ale starts with a base of Pale Crystal and rye malts that deliver a spicy aroma, along with Bravo and Nugget hops that add bitterness. Chinook hops are added to the hopback, and then the beer is dry-hopped with a trio of Centennial, Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus. The crisp, slightly bitter IPA has a citrusy flavor, with spicy notes and a dry finish that distinguish it from Yard's Signature IPA. For a fun taste comparison, try them side by side at the taproom at Fifth and Spring Garden.