Cheers to Fall: Five Local Craft Brews Perfect for the Season

Cheers to Fall: Five Local Craft Brews Perfect for the Season

Wow, it’s really been a hot minute since I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and write! Life got pretty crazy once Troy came home and a new puppy came into the mix. I also had some really great career opportunities come up for me, but the thing about great opportunities is, sometimes you have to do the hard thing and say no.

I’ll post more about this later on this week, but the important thing is, I’ve been able to restructure my priorities a little bit, and really focus on the things that will add value to my time. One of those tippy top priorities is this, my blog, and being able to share my experiences with you. It feels great to be back. And, on that note, I have decided to kick my own butt a little bit and go the route of a set posting schedule.

Right now, my plan is to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so be on the lookout for new adventures on those days. Also, there might be some extra posts here and there, which I’ll be sure to be pretty loud about on Instagram. If you’re not following the pups and I on Insta yet, here is my shameless plug: give us a follow @barefoottumbleweed.

But anyhoo, now that we’ve gotten all that nitty gritty out of the way, let’s talk about what we’re all really here for…BEER!

I love beer. I love dark beer, light beer, hoppy beer, smooth beer, bubbly beer, nitro beer, amber beer, and brown beer. I do not discriminate – I love it all. So that’s why brewery events are some of my favorite parties to attend. Recently, my husband and I got to go to one of our favorite annual events in the Manhattan, Kansas area called Brew at the Zoo. Every year, Sunset Zoo hosts a bunch of local craft breweries. Guests like Troy and I are able to go explore the zoo after hours, and get unlimited pours of all of the delicious, local beer. It seriously is one of the highlights of the end of summer/beginning of fall season for us and this year was no different.

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If you’re in the Manhattan area in late August, I really suggest you give this event a go. Or, there’s probably something similar in your neck of the woods too if you know where to look. If you love beer, you should totally go to all the local craft beer events you can. It’s such a good way to find little hidden beer gems that maybe otherwise, you wouldn’t have found. No obligation to buy six whole beers or struggling to find a place with a bunch of local beers on tap AND you get to support your local breweries. These events seriously are a win-win.

In case you need  a little bit more convincing, I took some pictures at Brew at the Zoo so y’all could see just how much beer we got to try and how fun it was. And, as promised, I’ve got a list of my five favorite beers to drink your way through transitioning from summer to fall. Here we go!

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Man Brew at the Zoo is so fun! I got to try so many new beers, one of which made my list for the top five fall beers! Here’s that one along with the rest of my picks:

Generally speaking, the colder the weather, the darker I like my beer. Since this list is beers that’ll help you transition from summer to fall, a couple of these are a little darker and include traditional fall-y flavors like pumpkin, caramel, and spices. Also, I tried to stick mostly to local, craft beers that have been my favorites from Florida to Kansas (and even some from New York and Delaware). Some of them might be a little tough to find depending on where you are, but they’re totally worth a little searching.

First on my list is the porter to end all porters, Roebling Vanilla Espresso Imperial Porter. I freaking love this beer. It seriously is one of the best porters I’ve ever had. Its smooth, its thick, it’s got a strong coffee flavor tempered with sweet vanilla – it’s just such a solid beer. Keep in mind, I really like darker beer, so if it’s not your thing so much, I got ya covered with a couple of the other beers on this list. But really, once it starts getting a little chilly outside, that’s when nice, dark stouts and porters really shine. Give it a go!

Next on my list is one of the crowd favorites every year at Brew at the Zoo. From the Tallgrass Brewery right in the Flint Hills of Kansas comes Buffalo Sweat (the most Kansas sounding beer ever made). It’s one of my favorite local beers and just one of my favorites in general. Even though it’s a local favorite, Buffalo Sweat is sold in 17 states and is the leading brand in most of them. Yours is probably on the list, so go get you some!

Next, we’re going to go with a beer that has a little more of a mass appeal. This one, you’ll definitely be able to find unless you’re living under a rock or something. I mean I live in a super small town in Northeast Kansas and even I can find this one. It is the infamously delicious staple of fall beer, Sam Adams OctoberFest. Yes, I know, not a craft beer. Not local. But so damn good. You can’t have a conversation about good fall beers without this one being a part of it. Sam Adams knows what they’re doing and this Marzen is perfect for the fall season – which is the only time its available so go get some soon! If you’re not super down with the darker beers I mentioned earlier, and you like something smooth with more malty than hoppy flavor, this one’s for you.

This wouldn’t be a fall beer list without a pumpkin beer, so next, we have my favorite pumpkin beer: the Pumpkin Ale by the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. It’s everything you love about a pumpkin spice latte in a beer – it’s got real pumpkin, brown sugar, and spice flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. I personally love this beer paired with pizza or campfires or both. Another honorable mention for good pumpkin beer is the Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale. It’s pretty easy to drink (and easy to find) but definitely not as complex as the Dogfish Pumpkin Ale. Also, I know there are a ton of great pumpkin beers in the world. I like the ones I like, but it’s not usually something I go out of my way to try, so if you love them and think I’m doing pumpkin beers a disservice by drinking these instead of yours, I’d love it if you dropped your favorite pumpkin beer in the comments and I’ll totally give them a shot.

In keeping with the fall flavor profile theme, we’re going to hop (ha! sorry) from pumpkin to caramel. Southern Tier Brewing Company makes this Salted Caramel Stout that will confuse your brain. Is it a beer or the best desert you’ve ever had? No one knows, but this stuff is pretty darn tasty either way. When they say salted caramel, they mean it. The caramel flavor isn’t a flimsy aftertaste. It definitely hits you right away with a super sweet, but smooth finish. Yum!

Most people are probably focusing on other fall drinks like pumpkin spice lattes or warm mulled cider, but leave it to me to think of the beer. It’s tough, but someone’s gotta do it. I look forward to posting on a more regular schedule, and getting to the point where I can really figure out what’s important to me in my life right now.

Life really is a never ending learning process and a journey, and I look forward to taking on this adventure with you. Also, seriously if you have favorite fall beers that I should try, drop them in the comments and I’ll throw myself a little beer tasting party.

Cheers to fall, y’all!