Trick-or-Treat: Seasonal Beer Favorites for the Big Kids
As children, Halloween was the one day of the year we could disguise ourselves and indulge in copious amounts of sweets until our tummies screamed in pain. As adults, the changing of the leaves and appearance of pumpkins means something completely different: great seasonal beers.
If you’re at a loss for what seasonal brew to sip with the ghouls tonight, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of my favorite styles to drink while the weather gets increasingly cold. Trick-or-treat? Treat it is.
As the Germans Do
Goose Island - Bourbon County Stout – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (15%) – I tried BCS for the first time last month. After all the hype, I sort of didn’t want to like it, but dang it’s good. Hints of vanilla, caramel and chocolate mix with strong bourbon aroma and finished. This year’s batch is 15%, so if that doesn’t keep you toasty warm I’m not sure what will.On Tap: Goose Island (coming soon) 12 Oz Bottle: Twisted Spoke, Small Bar Division, Various Binny’s
New Holland - Dragon’s Milk – Oak Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (13.8%) – The key phrase with this beer is “oak barrel aged.” Deep roasted malt flavor accompanied by a slight sweetness from the oak, this beer is perfect for a blustery night in front of the fire…or hiding inside the bar.On Tap: The Bad Apple, Farmhouse, Map Room, Franklin Tap. 12 Oz Bottle: Blue Frog’s Local 22, Kroll’s South Loop, Printers Row Wine Shop, Various Binny’s
The Best Wine is a Barley Wine
Lagunitas – Olde Gnarlywine – Barleywine Style (10.6%) – A dark sweet flavor of fig and raisin is what immediately resonates in this beer. Very malt forward with zero hop presence, if Christmas were to be in liquid (and insanely alcoholic) form, this would be it. On Tap: Foutainhead
Dare to Get a Little Funky
The Bruery - Tart of Darkness – Sour Stout (5.6%) –At first glance of this brew you would imagine a heavy bodied, strictly roasty stout. Then the sour blackberry tartness hits at the front, and it hits hard. The surprising turn will delight your palate or, at the very least, you can say you tried something different.On Tap: The Bad Apple 25 oz Bottle: Map Room, Jerry’s ,The Noble Grape, Printer’s Row Wine Shop 22 oz Bottle: Fat Pour Tapworks
5 Rabbit – 5 Vulture – Oaxacan-Style Dark Ale (6.4%) – I get a burnt sugar or S’more finish with this one. Roasted ancho chile is the unique spice note. Toasted sugar and caramel sweetness create a complex flavor that is perfect for a night of handing out candy. Obviously, you’ll be drinking the beer and the kids will be getting the candy.On Tap: Kasey’s Tavern 12 oz Bottle: Blue Frog’s Local 22, Root’s Handmade Pizza, Fatpour Tap Works.
If you’re far past the days of going door to door to collect candy, don’t fret. Double, bubble, toil or trouble, Halloween season will always be the beginning of great things for the beer world.