“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Autumn Bucket List Item: Try A Seasonal Beer.
Charlotte has long been known for three things – banks, BBQ, and beer.
Now, Charlotte is becoming known for slightly different things – banks, BBQ and vegan BBQ, and craft beer. In fact, Charlotte has 24 local breweries – perhaps more, depending on how you precisely you define the Charlotte region.
If you don’t live in a city obsessed with craft beer, it may surprise you to know that beers are seasonal. In the spring and summer, they are lighter (in color, mouthfeel, ABV content). In the fall and winter, they are darker, sturdier, with a bit more alcohol.
And then there are the flavors. Spring and Summer beers are fruity, Christmas flavors are citrus-y. And then in Autumn there’s Pumpkin Spice.
To me, Pumpkin Spice in a beer is a hard flavor to pull off. I personally like pumpkin spice better in cookies, cakes, waffles, and lattes. A too-sweet or too-cinnamon-y beer is not appealing to me. Plus, once a beer gets just so sweet or flavored, it no longer pairs well with food.
NoDa Brewing Company (makers of my all-time favorite beer Hop, Drop ‘n Roll) pulls off Gordgeous – well, gordgeously!
Here’s why it works:
NoDa uses real pumpkin in brewing the beer, not just the “pumpkin spices.”
The combination of spices is a bit more complex than most. It includes cardamom, allspice, and cloves – not just cinnamon.
It has good carbonation, a bit of hoppiness, and a small edge from the fresh ginger – so it doesn’t come off as too sweet.
Finally, you can sip this by itself, or drink it with food. It would probably pair especially well with casseroles, vegan mac and cheese, or winter squash dishes.
Gordgeous is widely available in the Charlotte area. If you don’t live in the Charlotte region, make it an Autumn bucket list item to sample some other seasonal beer!
A Note of Caution: Although most beers are vegan, it seems a large proportion of seasonal Autumn beers (and ciders) contain honey. If in doubt, check your beer out on the trustworthy www.barnivore.com.