Beer styles

Autumn: apples and smoke

Much as we’d like to pretend it’s ‘late summer’, nature won’t play along.  The leaves are turning brown, we’re being pelted with conkers on the way into work, and the mornings are getting unmistakeably misty.

So, if you can’t defy the coming of autumn, you might as well embrace it.

What does autumnal beer really look and taste like, though?  Many brewers seem to do some word association and so you get lots of beers described as nutty, copper, red or fruity, but which are really the same as the spring, summer or winter ales with a bit more crystal malt.

What would a real autumn beer taste like? It’s apple season, of course, but apples in beer don’t really work — that’s why we have cider — but we’ve said a few times that a good, sour Gueuze reminds us of West Country scrumpy, so that’s a possibility.

Even better, though, would be a good, subtly smoked beer. Nothing tells you it’s autumn more clearly than the smell of a bonfire on the air. I wonder if we’ll have to stick to Schlenkerla (not so subtle) or American examples? It would be nice to come across a few more smoked beers from British breweries.

15 replies on “Autumn: apples and smoke”

A dunklesweizen, perhaps a Weizenbock if it starts getting chillier, some dark lager with plenty of roast and a healthy touch of baked apple notes. And if it’s smoked we are talking about, then Brauerei Weber Landbier Rauch, just wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Every fall I get a yearning for a Munich Dunkles – all dark Munich malt, no roastiness. I’m a little late, but I’m brewing my annual one next week. Fortunately, it’s a beer that can be enjoyed as a kellerbier – before it’s properly lagered.

If the more intense Schlenkerla is a bit much, try their Lager – not made with smoked malt & just picks up a hint of smokiness from being made with the same equipment.

Autumn’s also hop harvest season: years back, King & Barnes used to do a ‘Harvest Ale’, made with just-harvested ‘green’ hops which was very good. It would be nice to see more like that!

Hello, Sandy. I think the last ‘green hop’ ale I saw was being marketed as a spring seasonal! I didn’t even question it at the time.

Tyson — I thought we were going to do the argument sketch from Monty Python for a minute there…

Tandleman — I think you mean “Smoked beer? Yum!”, don’t you?

Jeff and PF — I think of dunkels and dunkel weizens as quite summery — probably because I usually have them cold in hot, sunny beer gardens in Bavaria. I can see the baked apple thing, though.

“I think the last ‘green hop’ ale I saw was being marketed as a spring seasonal! I didn’t even question it at the time.” Bailey

Could the have been OZ or New Zealand hops different growing season?

‘Hello, Sandy. I think the last ‘green hop’ ale I saw was being marketed as a spring seasonal! I didn’t even question it at the time.’

Hi, that would have been matured a good long time! I remember the King & Barnes beer because I was working in an off licence at the time & very little of the first case made its way to customers..

Bacchanalia beer shop in Cambridge used to have Pyraser Hopfenpflücker Pils, which I think was a green hop beer, in stock from late September or October onwards.

There are plenty of good examples of “subtle” smoked beers in Franken. I’d go for Spezial or Hummel.

In fact I will be doing exactly that when I arrive in Bamberg on 28 October with a group of thirsty beer drinkers.

Since we’ll then be deep into Autumn, I’ll tell you what works best!

Tandleman – Come on, Schlenkerla’s one of the world’s great pubs, you have to go in, if you don’t like Rauchbier drink something else. An Apfelschorla (spelling?) looks like beer in the glass and you can use it as a re-hydration stop without missing out on the experience of the pub!

I’d be happy to see a smoked beer by a British brewery, why not? Because some people might not like it? I’m sure that attitude to railways didn’t stop Stephenson (‘it might be too fast though?!’) or Da Vinci (‘but humans will never fly in the sky!’)

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