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The Best Beers To Chase Down This August


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August is a strange month for beer releases. The end-of-summer-month bridges three big seasons. While July heralded in light, fizzy, fruity, funky beers that were perfect for sipping in the shade, September, and October mean it’s time for Oktoberfest lagers and autumn pumpkin ales. It’s getting close to the harvest season and that means it’s time to start drinking some serious, albeit still light beers.

With the start of Oktoberfest about one month away (remember, folks, it’s a September harvest festival that leads to October), German lagers and helles beers are being released right now in frothy anticipation. And with actual October just around the corner, all those pumpkin-fruit spiked ales, rich with spices are also hitting shelves.

The eight beers below are some of the best you can drink right now. Some of these beers are going to be hitting shelves from sea-to-shining-sea while others will be a little harder to source without traveling. Still, when is a journey to find great beer ever taken in vain?

FARKING WHEATON W00TSTOUT — STONE BREWING

This is a collaboration beer between Fark.com creator Drew Curtis, actor and pop culture blogger Wil Wheaton, and Stone’s own Greg Koch. This one is all about big ideas and pop culture references. Farking Wheaton Wootstout is spiked with pecans, wheat, and rye before going into bourbon barrels for aging. The 2019 release just dropped nationwide.

The imperial stout is brash. The malts come through with a buttery sweet base that has hints of rye pepper. Cherry, bourbon vanilla, rye spice, and roasted chocolate shine through the inky sip. Fatty pecans, boozy bourbon, oaky vanilla, and overly ripe dark and sweet cherries round this one out.

MARY — HILL FARMSTEAD BREWERY

Vermont’s Hill Farmstead may well be the most interesting brewery in America right now. The field-to-glass philosophy behind the farm brewery is a masterclass in how great American craft can be when the deepest care is given to every step of the beer-making process. Their Mary is currently hitting shelves and marks the coming of the harvest season with a solid example of a German pilsner.

This unfiltered pils is made with the well water from the farm. Grass, buttery toast, and honeycomb greet you at first sip. The hoppiness remains clearly anchored in a fresh grassy field after a summer rainstorm. At the same time, the slightly biscuit-sweet malts shine through, bringing a wonderful balance to the hop bitterness. This one is light, refreshing, and easy-to-drink all day long.

GERMAN STYLE PILSNER — UPSLOPE BREWING COMPANY

Sticking with the German Pils, Boulder’s Upslope Brewing just released their ode to the Germanic style in the Rocky Mountains. This is a quaffable classic from the Colorado brewers that’ll hit the perfect spot of easy-to-drink summer session beer and complex enough to leave you wanting more.

German Style Pilsner opens with a bright rush of wild floral notes touched by the summer sun. Light notes of citrus and freshly cut grass follow from the hops. Then a counterbalance of an almost sourdough bread dough malt base kicks in with the slightest echo of grainy sweetness lurking in the back.

PUNKIN ALE — DOGFISH HEAD

Punkin Ale is here! Dogfish Head’s stonecold classic brown ale is spiked with whole chunks of pumpkin, brown sugar, and a medley of pumpkin-forward spices — think cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and the like.

The ale opens with a rush of allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. That spice gives way to an almost fatty presence of pumpkin fruit with a clean earthiness. Finally, the thick brown sugar comes in with a nice rush alcohol bite thanks to the seven percent ABV. If you’re in a part of the country that’s already cooling down by late August, this is the sixer to throw in the fridge.

GHOST RIDE — REVOLUTION BREWING

Out in Chicago, Rev Brewing has released a knock out Kölsch-style ale, Ghost Ride. The beer utilizes cold temps and ale yeast to create a beer that ebbs more towards a dry white wine than a malty beer and works wonders as a late-summer sipper.

There’s a yeasty funk upfront that leads towards a vinous sourness. Light touches of malty sweetness cut through but don’t overwhelm the dry nature of the beer. This is a light, dry beer that hits a sweet spot of being very day-drinkable.

NIGHT OWL — ELYSIAN BREWING COMPANY

Night Owl from Elysian takes us back down the pumpkin ale road. The iconic ale is made with 150 pounds of pumpkin, pumpkin mash, and pumpkin seeds at every stage of the brew. Then the ale is cut with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice during the final conditioning process. This is the mountaintop of great pumpkin ales, folks.

A pumpkin pie sweetness greets you with plenty of sharp spice. The sweetness of the malts helps the meaty pumpkin shine while the spicy edge of the cinnamon, ginger, and allspice offers a wonderful counterpoint so that this one doesn’t ever skew too sweet. If you’re thinking about getting into pumpkin ales, this a great place to start that journey.

MY WATCH HAS ENDED — BREWERY OMMEGANG

My Watch Has Ended is Brewery Ommegang’s final bow for their much-lauded Game of Thrones line of beers. The imperial brown ale was brewed with sweet maple syrup and funky Fenugreek herbs. This is a unique beer that’s only going to get better with age.

The beer is big. Eight percent ABVs means it’ll get you tipsy fast. Moreover, it’s a very easy sipping beer. The heft of the ale is countered by a lovely rush of earthy maple syrup sweetness. The fenugreek has a pan-Asian, almost curry feel with a hint of spice. Notes of roasted cacao are in play along with a strong sense of deeply toasted malts.

INT’L PICK OF THE WEEK: HEFE WEISSBIER — WEIHENSTEPHANER

German hefeweizen (or hefe weissbier or just hefe) is the perfect late-summer sipper. This is resting-under-the-shade-of-an-oak-tree perfection. Weihenstephaner is a shining example of the old-school German beer and should be available in most specialty bottle shops right now.

The Wheat Beer opens with a clear sense of spicy cloves and ripe bananas. The light touch of wheat malts comes through as a nourishing cut against the heft of the beer, making it fairly light. The yeast funk brings about more fruitiness and with a slight straw nature in the backend. The spice cuts through all of it, tying the beer into an almost perfect summer sip.

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