The more things change…

….the more I drink what I darn-well feel like drinking.

With the turn of fall comes the inundation of new seasonal releases. For me, this is a great time of the year. The crisp, cool air. The vibrant, changing colors of the trees. The beer.

This Summer

There's a good chance that you'll be jealous of that sweet mug, which once belonged to my Grandpa Wilson. I'm pretty sure it never held beer before I took possession.

There's a good chance that you'll be jealous of this sweet mug, which was once Grandpa Wilson's. I'm fairly certain it never held beer until I took possession.

Just coming off of my self-proclaimed Dark Beer Summer, it’s now time to get back to what I enjoy, drinking dark beers. Silly, isn’t it? I drink all sorts of stuff, and color has very little to do with the gamut flavors out there in darker-hued beers. Color’s just color, and flavor’s just flavor. There are crappy dark beers out there, and brilliant lighter libations.

As I said back in July, it was going to be unlikely that I follow “the rules” completely. Of course, I drank a few lighter-colored beers. There was a quartet of beers from New Glarus: Spotted Cow, Totally Naked, Berliner Weisse and Edel-Pils. These beers were excused from the rules simply for being made by New Glarus. There was a Goose Island saison flowing at the Great Taste, where I also found a few Berliner Weisses. These beers are excused for being Goose Island saisons and Berliner Weisses.

My Brewing

But I didn’t brew anything light. In fact, I brewed very little, due to time constraints. I did my Jennings Farm Mild and Traction Oatmeal Stout. The latter became a split batch that took on cherries from my mother-in-law’s tree and Jim Beam-soaked oak chips from my plastic bag of Jim Beam-soaked oak chips. And, of course, I had set myself up in the spring to have some Darkness to consume, dubbels and porters, mostly. Oddly, I’ve consumed more commercial beers as of late. Just because they’ve popped up, in one form or another.

On one hand it’s the darker beers I enjoy, and on the other, it’s simply the flavors and the stronger likelihood of more body. I guess I just like body. As the result of the deep thought that has uncovered this truth, I’ll likely coin some brews next summer: a Munich Wit and a Land of Milk and Honey Ale and Chocolate Pils and and and and. Or not.

A seasonal beer imbibed

One form has been samples I’ve received, so for the sake of not getting too far behind, I thought I’d mention one of those today. Red Hook’s Late Harvest Autumn Ale arrived not so long ago. For me, it’s not one of those seasonals I find myself eagerly awaiting, like a Rabid Duck or a Dark Lord. But I tell you what, when I popped it open, I very much enjoyed it. It’s not extreme. It’s good.

It pours a gorgeous copper, with an off-white head and wafts toasty and floral aromas. There’s hop character and bitterness to a pleasant degree, but the malt shines through with toast and biscuits and caramel, and I really just find myself sitting back and enjoying it. I could drink this in the autumn. Or winter or spring or summer.

The Next Beer(s)

But now that it’s a new season, it’s time to pull out that little piece of contrariness that I have been saving since our trip to Wisconsin: New Glarus’ Berliner Weisse, which we had when we toured the brewery. Yes, yes, this weekend, I’m opening that up. I wonder if Kyle will show up.

And then I’ll get to the Oktoberfiesta, which I’m carefully plotting for October 13. MMMM…Oktoberfests.

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