After a heat-stoked, oven-baking summer, San Diego locals are psyched for cool fall breezes and a new lineup of craft beer releases. But in the land of world-class IPAs, what makes people gravitate to less hoppy (and more malty) fall beers?
Veteran brewmaster and owner of AleSmith Peter Zien muses, “Fall beers hold a special place in the heart of beer lovers. For me, it’s all about Oktoberfest and the beautifully malty amber lagers, for others the pie-spiced pumpkin beers are all the rage. Whatever your preference, the change to Fall rings in the heartier, darker and sometimes spiced beers to pair with the heavier fare featured on Fall menus.”
So get your sweaters, scarves and corduroys, it’s time for this year’s batch of autumn-inspired brews. Here are just a few to look out for this season from local brewers.
If you can get your hands on it before it’s gone, try the Oktoberfest 2018, a perfectly balanced version with toasty malt and a clean finish that was featured at their Oktoberfest celebration earlier this month. Look out for a new cinnamon version of the fall classic, Nut Brown, alongside the annual Evil Dead Red for the Halloween Bash on Oct. 26. And lest you forget one of the most popular events of San Diego Beer Week, don’t miss 16 unique versions of Speedway Stout featured at the the brewery’s annual 3-day Speedway Grand Prix. (Word has it there will be a BMW E30 M-3 race car in the tasting room.)
9990 AleSmith Ct., Miramar, 858.549.9888, alesmith.com
Bagby Beer Company
Say “guten tag” to fall with a variety of expertly made German-style beer at this Oceanside locale. The It's Festtastic! is a classic take on Oktoberfest with toasty malts, while the dark brown Duncle Buck is a German-style Dunkel Weisse with notes of rye bread, caramel malt and spice.
601 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside, 760.512.3372, bagbybeer.com
Ballast Point Brewing
Bringing the classic Piper Down Scottish Ale into the autumn season, BP’s Pumpkin Down is chocked full of roasted pumpkin, along with notes of toffee, caramel and spice.
Miramar: 9045 Carroll Way, 858.790.6900; Little Italy: 2215 India St., 619.255.7213; Scripps Ranch, 10051 Old Grove Rd., 858.695.2739, ballastpoint.com
Known for its once-a-year pumpkin beer, Punk’In Drublic ushers in the season with brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and honey. This year, try the homages to German fall favorites, including Oktoberfest, a rich and hearty Seal Rock Doppelbock, and Driftwood Dunkelweizen.
Coronado: 170 Orange Ave., 619.437.4452; Bay Park: 1205 Knoxville St., 619.275.2215; Imperial Beach: 875 Seacoast Dr., 619.423.4900; coronadobrewing.com
You can’t have a list of fall beers without its namesake brewery, and this North Park brewery delivers with a rich and malty Belgian dubbel, entitled Demognome. With devilish notes of dates, caramel and raisins, it’s autumn in a glass. Dark, but light in body, Mittens — a collaboration with Cosimo Sorrentino formerly of Monkey Paw — welcomes the cold but keeps it fresh for those warmer fall days.
4542 30th St., North Park, 619.501.0903, fallbrewingcompany.com
While the toasty and nutty Oktoberfest is an annual tradition for this veteran brewery, try to nab one of the brewery’s blue and cream colored beer steins this year, which proclaims, “Party like it’s 1810.”
Downtown: 1157 Columbia St., 619.234.2739; Sorrento Valley: 9675 Scranton Rd., 858.587.2739; 4S Ranch: 10448 Reserve Dr., 858.376.2739; La Jolla: 1044 Wall St., 858.551.2739; Carlsbad: 5801 Armada Dr., 760. 431.2739, karlstrauss.com
Nothing says autumn like cinnamon spice and toasted nuts, and this local brewery answers the call with its Cinnamon Hazelnut Brown Ale, available in a 22-oz. bottle for extra enjoyment under the blankets or around the campfire.
Kearny Mesa: 7576 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., 858.715.3998; Ocean Beach: 1875 Cable St., 619.255.9775, kilowatt.beer