There are some days, some moments and some places when nothing but a beer will do. I've always enjoyed a good brewski, mostly on a "Can I just have something light but not so light that it tastes like water?" level. But just as my hard alcohol palette has grown up from vodka and cranberry juice to whiskey, bitters and sugar—my grasp of ales, sours, lagers and stouts has evolved a bit, too. That's mostly because I spend time with people who know a lot more about beer than I do. Chief among them is my friend Jerry, so naturally I felt it was my duty to exploit his expertise for your benefit. I asked him to round up his favorite fall beers that you can find around NYC—you know, the kind that are basically the hops and barley equivalent of listening to the new Bon Iver album while crunching some leaves underfoot in Central Park. At least, that's how I'd describe it. And on that note, I'll let him take it from here...
My misadventures with craft beer started my junior year of college at University of Oregon when I would buy 22 oz bottles of Ninkasi because it offered the most bang for my buck in those days. Flash forward a handful of years and I'm currently enjoying the spoils of New York's exploding beer scene. My budding status as a bit of a beer nerd has brought me to long brewery lines in Gowanus and rare can-hunting in Midtown. I've made a point to try and sample local beers on just about every trip I take now—whether that's a jaunt to Tired Hands when I'm in Philadelphia or stopping at Russian River Brewing on the drive from San Francisco to Napa. This summer culminated in an epic brewery-hopping pilgrimage from New York to Massachusetts to Vermont to hit up Treehouse, Trillium, Alchemist and more. I'm still a rookie in this game by most standards, but I'm excited to share some of my favorite local and seasonal beers for you to enjoy this fall. Cheers!
// CLICK THROUGH FOR JERRY'S TOP FALL BEER PICKS //
EDWARD, HILL FARMSTEAD
WHERE TO FIND IT: Fools Gold (Lower East Side)
DRINK THIS IF YOU LIKE: Balance.
Think craft beer is all double and triple IPAs or jet black stouts? Think again. Edward—an American Pale Ale by Hill Farmstead—is like the Switzerland of beer and its neutral quality doesn't mean it lacks flavor, body, or overall quality. Vermont's Hill Farmstead Brewery has been producing some of the softest (yes, I said softest) beers in the country. Their delicate profile and ability to please almost all palettes is what makes them such a giant in the craft beer market. This is the perfect beer for someone who is new to the craft beer scene and for the bearded beer veteran who is looking for something that won't have them seeing double after one pint.
VLIET, THREE'S BREWING
WHERE TO FIND IT: Three's Brewing (Brooklyn)
DRINK THIS IF YOU LIKE: Domestic beer but you want to class it up.
Three's Vliet is like giving your taste buds a promotion from Bud Light without going too much out of your comfort zone. This crisp pilsner is the perfect choice for washing down wings while you're watching football or if you just prefer something on the lighter side. Check out Vliet at Three's Brewing in Brooklyn, and enjoy their outdoor space before winter inevitably sets in.
LAMBO DOOR, GRIMM
WHRE TO FIND IT: Good Beer NYC (East Village)
DRINK THIS IF YOU LIKE: Perfection. (I'm kidding...kind of.)
This is one of the flagship beers by (current) nomadic brewing Grimm Artisanal Ales. Lauren and Joe Grimm are producing an array of beers ranging from hopped sours to IPAs, stouts and everything in between. Starting as a hobby, Lauren and Joe became just too good at brewing beer and began canning their incredible concoctions. Lambo Door is one of the most sought-after IPAs in the country—offering a delicious, juicy profile from the citra and simocie hops. Also, how cool is that can?
PUMPKING, SOUTHERN TIER
WHERE TO FIND IT: Milk and Hops (Chelsea and Astor Place)
DRINK THIS IF YOU LIKE: Pumpkin pie.
If you're a beer drinker and you like pumpkin pie—this is what you've been waiting for. Southern Tier has been dominating the pumpkin beer scene of late and is showing no signs of giving up the throne. Pumpking hits your nose with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger—and boasts a beautiful copper color to boot. Grab a bottle of this to enjoy while you pass out candy... Or before you go trick or treating. ALL HAIL PUMPKING!
ALL GREEN EVERYTHING, OTHER HALF
WHERE TO FIND IT: Other Half Brewery and Tap Room (Brooklyn)
DRINK THIS IF YOU LIKE: Hops!
This is the triple IPA that put Other Half on the map. As devotees would say, it rivaled the famous Heady Topper from Alchemist. Other Half has continued to dominate the local beer scene in New York City, and recently began an expansion to serve the massive demand they created. All Green Everything is a big IPA that is bursting with hops including Citra and Mosaic from the Yakima Valley. Be warned: this beer is not for the faint of heart and is best consumed with a couch nearby given the 10 percent ABV.
BQE BARREL AGED, FINBACK
WHERE TO FIND IT: Finback Brewing and Tap Room (Queens)
DRINK THIS IF YOU LIKE: Bold flavors.
For years IPAs have been dominating the beer scene—but if you ask me, the imperial stout is the real MVP of current beer culture. Finback's BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expresso) is an incredible stout in its own right—so adding the bourbon barrel aged variety has really raised the bar. Off the nose you will smell espresso and cocoa nibs with the bourbon you would expect from a bourbon barrel aged stout. BQE—at 10 percent ABV—packs a serious punch but is a great choice for those crisp autumn evenings. Pour yours into a fancy glass, kick back, and enjoy this awesomely unique creation from Finback.