A common craft beer world dilemma: Getting hard-core Bud Light or Coors Light drinkers to switch over to local options is not always a simple act, even for dedicated disciples. Converting them to darker brews can be doubly challenging, even in the cooler "fall" season months.
Luckily, we live in a craft mecca, and with a blockbuster Beer Week in November every year, our job is a little easier. As a dark beer lover, I've found English-style and American browns are a great place to start for neophytes (Porters and Stouts are always soon to follow). Check out these top local offerings sure to bring any Newcastle drinker over to the craft side:
Alesmith Nut Brown English-style ale, 5 percent ABV: Once you have this San Diego classic, Newcastle will never taste the same. Nutty with notes of chocolate, toffee and toasted malt, it's smooth, easygoing and perfect for fall meals. Serve at Thanksgiving.
Acoustic Ales Shake Your Money Maker, 6.5 percent ABV: James Brown on the cover and "Honey roasted peanut and fresh coffee aromas" inside? Yes please! This yummy nut brown ale additionally shows chocolate and vanilla, making it your holiday party beer all season long.
Fall Brewing Speedo's Tiki Love God, 4.7 percent ABV: Our lowest alcohol content in the group, this mysteriously named English brown is made for cool and breezy San Diego afternoons, when work is over and the evening is free. Slated as "not too hoppy" by the brewery, the Tiki is a comforting bet for those hop-shy or with IPA-exhausted palates (yes, that's possible, hopheads).
Bagby Three Beagles Brown, 5.6 percent ABV and Upside Down Frown, American brown, 6.2 percent ABV: Jeff Bagby and crew throw a double punch of brown with these two offerings, an exercise in the subtle differences between American vs. English styles. For homebrewers, Cicerone students, and beer fans alike, it's an undeniably delicious way to learn about beer.
Urbn Brewing Urbn St. Brown, 5.1 percent ABV: Dubbed a "San Diego brown," this one is built for the home crowd. Fans of Urbn will enjoy this throughout autumn with "intense aromas of graham cracker, chocolate and a note of raisin." Kept in balance by citrus hops, it's a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving and holiday plans. Get a growler and treat the out-of-town family.
Fans of browns, don't miss these other local offerings: Rip Current Barrier Reef Nut Brown, Half Door Dad Bod, Groundswell Piloncillo Brown, Helm's Batten Down Brown, and Intergalactic Brown Coat Ale.