Cheers! This is one of our stories in our annual Beer Issue. For more coverage, click here.
Autumn is a season that brings with it the promise of change — change already reflected in the increasingly darker brew options. Prost!
3rd Turn Brewing
Beer Flavored Gun Boobs — Full stop: This is the best name for a local beer this season. A märzen-style ale, this is a honeyed bronze beauty. Capped with a light foam head, this is a treasure to behold. The nose gives almost nothing away, but you get a rich malt profile right from the top. There are dense caramel notes here, rendering the beer absolutely sublime, a mellow seasonal favorite in the making. Featuring an alcohol content of 5.8%, this is a moderately heavy pour; not anything that will crush you, but will get you flush.
Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse
Lil’ Hop of Horrors — An imperial IPA with a spicy, brownish body, the Lil’ Hop of Horrors is a welcome diversion to the autumnal predilection for märzen-style lagers or pumpkin infused ales. At around 10.5% alcohol by volume, this is a heavy beer that otherwise belies the lightness of the flavor palate. While this is not specifically a hazy or Northeastern-style IPA, there are a lot of commonalities between this and something such as the Bearded Iris Brewing Homestyle, which is meant here with the highest of respect. This is juicy and rich but not cloying, a thing to behold.
Akasha Brewing Co.
12-Foot Fall Lager — Märzen style brews are part and parcel to the season and serve as the perfect opportunity to slowly transition into the cooler months. The ideal autumn yard work brew, the 12-Foot Fall Lager is a darker bodied brew that features a walnut body and burnt malt taste, sporting a soft hop head blunted by the lagering process. With a 6% ABV, this is a moderately heavy and delectable beer that will leave you reeling but only with prolonged visits. For better or worse, this is a drinkable quaff that rewards repeat visits, so proceed with caution.
Apocalypse Brew Works
Oktoberfest — A märzen style brew, the Apocalypse Oktoberfest is an auburn-bodied brew with a slight hop twinge and hale aftertaste. This is a lager style brew, thin but rich. At 6.8% ABV, it is a little heavier than a traditional märzen style, so it’s best to enjoy via long, slow sips, which is difficult when measured against how smooth it is. The Oktoberfest carries 26 International Bitterness Units and enjoys mellow mouthfeel that leaves you in want of more, making this all too easy going down.
Falls City Brewing Co.
At Dawn — A farmhouse ale with coffee, the At Dawn is a walnut bodied brew with no movement in the body and no foam at the head. The nose only hints at the internal complexity, a mellow, almost bretted brew with sublimely mild flavorings. As such, there is a subtle but present suggestion of a tanginess that never manifests just below the surface. As such, the coffee is present, but mild, a welcome presence that adds a robust warmth to the beer. A 5.4% ABV beer, this is a relatively mild brew, albeit one that will warm you up.
False Idol Independent Brewers
Churchkey English Bitter — A dark amber body with almost no head, the Churchkey English Bitter is a collaboration with 3rd Turn Brewing. The slightest hint of smoke on the nose implies a roastiness to the malt texture. Despite the appellation, this isn’t as bitter as you would think, coming off as crisp and robust with a blush of chicory that adds a heartiness to an otherwise thin-bodied brew. The mouthfeel here is mellow, with a pleasant aftertaste. With a 4.6% ABV, this is an easy, low entry beer that you can session on cool nights with friends.
Floyd County Brewing Co.
Extreme Punk’d — A barrel-aged pumpkin ale, this is an elegant brew that blends notes of oak with the cinnamon inflected allspice part and parcel to the style. You catch those sweet spices at the nose, on a beer that sports a deep amber body and soft foam lattice cap. Coming in at 6.7% ABV, this is on the heavy side, albeit one that will leave you toasty and warm. This is a smooth beer that features a mild mouthfeel devoid of sediment, making way for a delightful aftertaste. The bourbon compliments the pumpkin flavors in the best way, reinvigorating a variety that has become a tradition of the season.
Gravely Brewing Co.
Dancing in the Dark — A chestnut-brown dunkel lager, the Dancing in the Dark is a damn fine sight to behold. Capped with a thin, soft foam at the head, this is a brew that balances a savory flavor palate with thinness. You get notes of burnt caramel malt that go down creamy and smooth. At 4.5% ABV with an IBU of 20, this goes down easy.
Great Flood Brewing Co.
Belgian Dubbel — Colored a deep rosewood and capped with a light foam head, the Belgian Dubbel is a spicy alternative to traditional fall brews. It is a delightful, cinnamon and malt heavy brew for a welcome added kick. This is heavy at 8% ABV, but never seems boozy, the edges worn down by the flavor profile that suggests maple or bright fruits such as berries. Each of the elements of this beer is carefully balanced against the other, making for an exquisite experience. The mouthfeel is mild with low sediment levels and an intriguing aftertaste. This is a hearty ale underneath the flavor profile, thick, but not quite to the level of robustness as a stout or porter. You get a good snoot full of spice at the end, which is a bonus to anyone suffering from allergies.
Oktoberfest — A burnt amber-bodied märzen, this Oktoberfest is a malted delight with a hale aftertaste. I haven’t tried a bad Oktoberfest, but there is something extraordinary about Holsopple’s take, which has a brut-like dryness and brown ale-ish warmth. Despite that description, there is a juicy, up-front balanced by a dry finish that satisfies. This is a complicated beer with roasted nose and a deep malt bed that yields complex flavors a cut above the rest, perfect for a bonfire with your besties. 5.6% ABV.
Monnik Beer Co.
Martin’s Rook — It is a rauchbier brewed with malt smoked by Martin’s Bar-B-Que. As advertised, you get rich smoky notes at the nose and in the body. This is a comforting beer, with hints of honey and burnt malts that leave you with a melody of dried fruits and crisp autumn leaves. This beer immediately transports you to a gathering with friends, huddled together to celebrate the season. At 6% ABV, this is a moderate pour and one that will catch up to you. Still, the alcohol content is never overwhelming, leaving a relaxing and hale mouthfeel.
New Albanian Brewing Co. Pizzeria & Public House
Strassenbrau — This is a märzen style Ocktoberfest with a burgundy color and handsome head with mossy tan foam cap. It has a lot of movement under the surface, the side thick with bubbles slowly roiling to the top. The nose offers you little to hint at what’s going on in the beer, other than a sly malt figure inviting you in. And that maltiness is ever present, albeit never overwhelming, an agent that dulls the rougher periphery of the brew into a robust whole. This is a mellow beer that has a slight bite rendered creamy by grains and malts of the märzen style. This is heavy at 6% ABV, but an IBU of 32 makes it a greatly drinkable quaff.
Old Louisville Brewery
Imperial Pumpkin Milk Stout — There is perhaps no fruit more associated with fall and Halloween than pumpkins. As such, they’ve become staples of the autumn beer scene, although more often than not as the pumpkin spice lattes of the craft beer. The Imperial Pumpkin Milk Stout subverts the trends to the adjunct with a creamy and dark brew that is rich and complex. You catch pumpkin notes at the nose. The lactose sweetened the brew, but more importantly makes it pour like silk, leaving you with a velvety mouthfeel. This is pitch black with a soft white foam head, with an 8% ABV and a mild 45 IBU, perfect at night. •