Behind the Tap: Fall’s to the Wall

Pow! We’re in the thick of pumpkin beer season! Let local brew guru Jon Kennedy help you navigate Autumn’s spiciest ales & lagers with grace and daring. 

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Well it’s Fall again, you know that time where every BASIC person you know orders pumpkin spice everything! I know WINTER IS COMING, John. Snow….but until then let us bask in the Pumpkin-ocolypse and enjoy all the great things Fall has to offer.

  1. How Beautiful is East Falls in the Fall with all the leaves changing color around the neighborhood and along Kelly Drive….I mean c’mon!!! Just watch out for those slippery leaves walking down our hills!
  2. Kids are back to school….great for neighborhood parents who have dealt with the wrath of bored children throughout the summer, and great for our older students in the area who are returning to the area to further their education and Beer Pong skills away from judgmental, parental eyes!!!
  3. FOOTBALL!!!! E-A-G-L-E-S!!!!! God Bless Carson Wentz!!! I smell Division Title….okay maybe not, but have you seen Dallas?!!! GO BIRDS!
  4. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will be on at some point….Truly an American Masterpiece for young and old!
  5. Halloween, for our younger readers and their parents this means beautiful memories of ghouls, superheroes, and princesses traversing East Falls collecting a veritable cornucopia of candy for both young and old……OR…..for our older readers Halloween, that special time of year where ugly people truly have a chance of scoring w/ a naughty nurse, naughty nun, or some other thoughtless scantily clad costumed individual who has had one too many.
  6. BEER….This is a great time for BEER my friends from special Fall offerings like Oktoberfest beers, Pumpkin Beers, and special released Fall inspired Ales and Lagers, there is truly something for everyone! Here are a few of my picks for the season, that are mostly local and widely available around East Falls and Philadelphia.

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Stoudts Oktoberfest
Adamstown, PA
Herbal/Bread Aromas with Tasting Hints of Pear & Caramel
Crisp, Clean, Amber colored, Medium-Bodied Märzen/Oktoberfest Lager
ABV 4.5% (alcohol by volume)   24 IBU (International Bittering Units)

This Winner of 5 Great American Beer Awards is a great local, seasonal Märzen using traditional German Saaz & Hallertau hops.

PAIRING: Amazing with pizza, sausages on the grill, & any German-style cuisine, especially Bavarian pretzels.  This beer and Murphy’s Turkey Special are an excellent match!

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Victory Festbier
Downingtown, PA
Toffee and Nut Notes with hints of herbs & subtle spice
Sweet, Malty medium-bodied Märzen/Oktoberfest lager with a clean, earthy, slightly bitter finish
ABV 5.6% 20 IBU

This was the 1st beer Victory ever brewed in 1996 by childhood friends and founders, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, and man do these guys know about their beer!  Victory’s use of classic German Munich & Vienna 2-row malts along with classic German hops make this beer one of the best Oktoberfests stateside!

PAIRING: This beer is perfect with pizza, burgers, or surprisingly enough Latin-style cuisine.  I highly recommend it w/ the Latin Inspired Turf burger at Murphy’s!

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Yards Extra Special Ale
Philadelphia, PA

Earthy and floral notes with hints of chocolate & caramel
Deep chestnut-colored Extra Special Bitter with a strong malt backbone
ABV 6.0% IBU 44

Another 1st, This was the Yards’ introductory offering in Manayunk back in 1995!  This British-Inspired Ale is perfection if available on cask, but great overall even in the bottle.  I REPEAT if you can find it on cask….DO IT!!

PAIRING: Southern style BBQ, grilled meats, and roasted vegetables!

Insider Tip: Dave Wilby of Dawson Street Pub in nearby Manayunk regularly has it on one of his cask beer engines.

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Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Milton, DE

Cinnamon, allspice, & nutmeg aromas with notes of brown sugar and pumpkin
Copper colored, medium/thin bodied pumpkin ale
ABV 7. 0% IBU 28

This is a pumpkin beer for people who don’t like pumpkin beers, it is not overly sweet with only mild hints of the aforementioned squash.  This beer is a lot brighter than most in the style adding to more effervescent/sparkling mouthfeel.

PAIRING: Sharp cheddar cheese, roasted turkey or duck. I highly recommend this beer with any custard-based dessert, such as crème brulee, flan, or any type of cheesecake!

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Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Easton, PA

Aromas of pumpkin & cinnamon with hints of caramel, nutmeg, clove and cardamom
Cloudy, spiced, orange-brown, medium/full-bodied Imperial Pumpkin Ale
ABV 8.0% IBU 21

This is great beer for warming up on those cooler fall nights sitting on your porch, deck, or by a campfire.  The higher alcohol content adds to a nice warming quality balanced by the heavy spices and pumpkin flavor.

PAIRING: Stuffing, lamb, or pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  I highly recommend this with Murphy’s Famous Seasonal Homemade Chicken Potpie…pure deliciousness!

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Southern Tier Pumking
Lakewood, NY

Vanilla & pie-crust notes with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and pumpkin
Smooth, orange-gold colored, medium-bodied, Imperial Pumpkin Ale
ABV 8.6% IBU 26

This may be the PERFECT Pumpkin Ale, and is by far a favorite of mine of any style, although the recipe does vary slightly from year to year.  Think of Fall in a glass….mmmm tastes good doesn’t it?

Well, if pumpkin ie could be alcoholic and in liquid form this would be it.  Sweet, boozy, creamy manna of the pumpkin gods!!!

PAIRING: This is a great dessert beer and is AMAZEBALLS with a deep fried Fluffer Nutter from Murphy’s, but can also be great contrasting porkbelly or Foghorn’s fried chicken!

Warning:  This Beer can sneak up on you and leave you reciting the National Anthem (Sorry, Colin Kaepernick) when asked to say the blessing at Thanksgiving like Aunt Bethany from “Christmas Vacation.”

Here’s to Beers and Plenty of Cheers,

JK

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