A brief respite: Fall is in the air

4 Sep

Summer ain’t even in the rearview and I’m already steppin’ out with Fall

I realize that I am not even halfway through my self-imposed Summer Series of Beers, but I can’t deny the crispness in the air any longer.  The days no longer feel summer-like and we have clearly made the turn into fall.  Our six weeks of summer is over, folks.  Don’t worry, just like the last gasps of summer temps in the 80s and 90s coming up, I’m not abandoning my summer series just yet.  I bought the beers, so they gotta get reviewed, right?  But with the weather the way it is, I decided to do an early fall beer post.  What I love about fall beers is the color and the aromas you get.  Fall is a season that speaks more to my palate than others.  Food in the fall is full of spices and majestic colors, and the beers are very similar.  This particular post was inspired by a trip to the grocery store, as most are.  I was picking up a few things at Freddy’s and there was Bridgeport’s Witch Hunt Spiced Ale.  Kismet, as they say.

Spiced ales are a mixed bag to be totally honest.  It’s hard to find ones that are balanced.  Often the spice dominates the flavors or you get the feeling an extract was used.  Other times you have to struggle to taste any spice at all.  Mike and I have brewed a spiced ale in consecutive years, and I can tell you that it’s pretty hard to get the spice level just right.  The 1st year, the beer was pretty damn close to perfect, but I thought we could do better…so we upped the ante on some of our flavoring ingredients.  The beer ended up having too much cinnamon  and allspice.  Its pretty clear we are headed back to the original recipe.

As for this beer, it was enjoyable if not memorable.  It should be noted that I tasted this on consecutive days, at different points in the day, to make sure I was giving it a chance to show me it’s character.  It had the beautiful amber/copper color of a spiced, fall ale.  The color alone makes me think of lazy drives along the Fruit Loop in Hood River.  The smell was caramel with a hint of cinnamon.  Shockingly enough, I also got a bright wash of citrus hops with that initial inhale.  Not sure I’ve ever had a spiced ale with such a pronounced tangerine/orange hop nose.  By my second taste of this beer, I was really into the citrusy smell of the beer.  It played well with the cinnamon, sort of a common pairing of spice for food in the fall.  The flavor was nice, balanced with the sweet caramel backbone that is complimented by the hops.  Here the cinnamon comes through more, but the nutmeg is again…maybe it’s there, but if it is, it is really not popping out.  But again, the orange/tangerine quality of the hops comes through in the flavor and works really well.   It could clearly use a bit more upping of the ante in the nutmeg department, however I give them credit for the dry hopping experiment that does add a enjoyable quality to the beer.  It’s worth a try, if you are into fall beers like I am.  Overall this beer isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off, but it is really drinkable, which made me happy.  I also wonder if this isn’t just fabulous on draught at one of their pubs.

Food pairing:  This is easy.  Turkey dinner!  If you had this with your Thanksgiving dinner, you couldn’t go wrong.  Besides, red wine paired with turkey is just an invitation for people to take advantage of you and play with your toys.  Use cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel in a couple of your dishes…say the brine for the turkey, some orange-honey butter for the biscuits, and maybe your sweet potatoes and you would have instant groan-ability at the table.  That’s what I call it when people are clearly headed for a food/beer induced coma because they can’t stop eating and drinking at your table.  You’re gonna need pillows.

Again, sorry for the interruption of summer beers, but I just couldn’t help myself.  We’ll be back on schedule here in a couple of days.

5 Responses to “A brief respite: Fall is in the air”

  1. Miranda September 5, 2012 at 8:35 AM #

    Fall? You are crazy. It’s 85-90! There is no chill. We have another 3-4 weeks before the chill brings sweaters, and then another 3-4 weeks of beautiful fall before rainy, cold fall takes over! But I am definitely going to try this when that sweater does come out of the closet!

    • Brian September 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM #

      Stop lying to yourself. It’s over. Fall is here. Three more 85 degree days are not going to change that. Embrace the seasons, baby!

      • Miranda September 5, 2012 at 9:14 AM #

        We clearly have dIfferent definitions of fall. I’m not tied to the calendar to tell me.

  2. Sister Schoultz September 5, 2012 at 12:32 PM #

    doesn’t even have to be fall baby! still 102F down here south of the mason dixon in dry county nowhere, and this beer novice’s been drinking some blue moon pumpkin ale and carmel apple ale that hubs picked up. didn’t expect to enjoy either. caramel apple just made me think of those horrible caramel coffee drinks from starbucks–am I the only one who doesn’t want caramel in my coffee? the beer was good though, no artificial flavors that I could taste. but I think i’ll look this one up. love the name and might actually be able to find this bridgeport at our one bottle shop next county up.

    • Miranda September 5, 2012 at 1:24 PM #

      I am not sure about caramel apple in my beer. Seems shady…and am totally with you on no caramel in my coffee. Let me know if you don’t find this…it definitely made me think of you and think you should get a bottle.

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