San Diego fall is a bit of a contradiction in terms, a localized oxymoron if you will. With scorching temperatures and bright green leaves not unlikely in October, the idea of autumn is lost on many SoCal residents.
However, those of us in the craft beer world crave our German-influenced or pumpkin-style beers despite the weather, and San Diego brewmasters happily oblige.
Here are a few can't miss fall releases from our local brewing geniuses:
Rip Current Delaminator Smoked Doppelbock, 7.8 percent ABV: Smoked. Doppelbock. Two of my favorite words in beer. This special limited brew oozes fall in its campfire Bamberg-smoked malt and its roasty, toasty caramel, brown sugar doppelbock character. Drinking this makes you want sweaters, blankets and a roaring fire. Currently at the brewery and limited locations, be sure to check taphunter.com for pouring locations.
Modern Times Aurora (red rye IPA), 6.7 percent ABV: Readers, you already know my love of red IPAs and rye brews, so putting the two together is like a perfect peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. With the color of a red maple leaf, Aurora includes Equinox, Centennial, Horizon, and Experimental Hop 07270 for your hop-loving pleasure with just enough malty toastiness. As close as you will get to leaves changing in San Diego.
Green Flash Green Bullet, 10.1 percent ABV: Can't get away from the hop addiction? This San Diego veteran brewer feeds your jones with its fall release, a triple IPA with New Zealand Pacific Gem and Green Bullet hops. With a whopping 100+ IBUs (International Bitterness Units), the Green Bullet has a clever combination of pine, citrus and tropical mango and pineapple for a three-punch hop zowie. Careful with this one.
For pumpkin beer fans
Ballast Point Pumpkin Down, 5.8 percent ABV: A pumpkin-y play on the Piper Down Scottish Ale, this fall seasonal adds a bit of spice as well just before bottling. The Ballast Point website recommends mouthwatering autumnal pairings like truffle risotto with butternut squash, sage gnocchi, and jalapeño cornbread. Drool.
Coronado Pun'kin Drublic, 8.0 percent ABV: "Brewed with brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and a heaping helping of would be jack-o-lanterns." Love this seasonal brew? Look out for the limited 2015 Coronado Collection version, aged in bourbon barrels, perfect for late night Halloween festivities.
Twisted Manzanita Witch's Hair Pumpkin Ale, 8.8 percent ABV: Didn't get enough pumpkin onslaught at Trader Joe's? Of course not! Check out this tribute of love to the mighty gourd with brown sugar, nutmeg, clove, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and a whopping 30 pounds of organic pumpkin per barrel. It's a must for your fall collection.
What's your favorite fall craft beer release? Cheers!
With 15 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 700 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to email@example.com.