Ask A Chicago Expert: Fall Beers To Try

September 25, 2014 7:00 AM

The shorter days, longer nights and cooler temperatures can only mean one thing: fall is upon the Chicago area. The season is a great opportunity to do away with the lighter-flavored beers from spring and summer and start edging into full-flavored and hearty brews. Which beers should you try this fall? Christopher Quinn, co-owner of The Beer Temple in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood, gives his advice on beer to include in your fall holiday celebrations and football tailgate parties in Chicago.

Christopher Quinn
The Beer Temple
3185 N. Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 754-0907
www.craftbeertemple.com

Quinn co-owns The Beer Temple with his wife, Margaret. According to Quinn, The Beer Temple “focuses on educating people on different types of beer, and we try to have different examples of beer styles. We fit the right beer to the right person, and take a hands-on and personal approach.” Quinn holds a number of credentials, including certified Cicerone, and is a Master of Beer Styles and Evaluation. He explained that he spends time on quality control to ensure the freshest product is available. He also makes recommendations to customers: “I like to try to figure out what they’ve been drinking lately. Do they want to branch out and try something new?” 

When asked his thoughts on the ubiquitous pumpkin spice trend, Quinn responded, “You know it’s fall when it seems like every food and beverage has pumpkin spice flavoring, and beer is no exception. If you thought 2013 would be the last time you’d see pumpkin spice flavoring, think again. I don’t think people want to stop drinking pumpkin spice. I don’t see it [pumpkin spice flavor] going away anytime soon.”

Quinn shared the following five recommendations for beer to try this fall.

Whole Hog by Stevens Point Brewery
www.pointbeer.com

With cooler temperatures in the forecast for the Chicago area, adding a pumpkin beer to your tailgate or holiday party is always a hit. “Pumpkin beers are great for fall, and are one of the truly American styles. It’s kind of cool to see a historical style coming back,” Quinn said, noting the pumpkin flavor dates back to the colonial times in the U.S. If you’re apprehensive of trying a pumpkin spice beer, don’t worry. Quinn explained that the beer “is not so subtle that you need to remind yourself there’s actually pumpkin in it, but doesn’t go to the other extreme and have a heavy, dessert-like taste to it, either.”

Oktoberfest by Ayinger
www.en.ayinger-bier.de

Fall is synonymous with the German celebration of Oktoberfest, so consider drinking a beer from Germany this year. Quinn explained that Oktoberfest beers are ideal for someone who drinks light ales over the summer, as Oktoberfest beers are just a bit darker. According to Quinn, this beer style has “a wonderful bready, caramel quality that is great on a fall day.” He recommended Ayinger’s Oktoberfest beer to include in your annual celebrations. “It just completely embodies what I’m looking for. It’s clean and refreshing, and has a wonderful depth of flavor.”

Amber by Jenlain
www.jenlain.fr

For a beer that’s a bit off the beaten path, Quinn recommends trying biere de garde, which he described as having a nutty and toffee-like taste. “It’s got an earthiness at times, too. It’s got a lot of carbonation; it goes well with food, like fall meals and Thanksgiving.” If you’re looking for a specific brew, Quinn suggested Jenlain Brewery’s Amber beer.

Related: Ask A Chicago Expert: Best Summertime Cocktail Recipes

Rocky’s Revenge by Tyranena
www.tyranena.com

When the weather starts getting cold, you might want to change up what you’re drinking with American brown ale. Quinn noted that people are looking for bigger beers at this time of the year, but aren’t quite ready to start drinking stouts. “Brown ales just turn it up a notch for a bigger and fuller taste, with chocolate-y notes. They’re big and robust,” Quinn said, and suggested Rocky’s Revenge by Tyranena. He explained that the beer has hints of vanilla and spice that weren’t overdone. 

Aventinus by Schneider Brewery
www.schneider-weisse.de

If you’re a fan of wheat beer, you can try a brew that is a bit heartier this fall. Quinn recommended Weizenbock beer, which he described as “a little sturdier and a bit stronger.” While this type of beer can be on your drink menu at any time, Quinn noted it is great for fall. He recommended Aventinus, which is made by Schneider Brewery.

Related: Ask A Chicago Expert: How To Start Your Dream Garden

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.