Skip the Pumpkin Spice, It’s Brown Ale Season

No beer complements the season better than a brown ale.

Put down that played-out pumpkin stout—October belongs to the brown ale. Far superior to the usual boring seasonal offerings, the brown family of beer’s low carbonation and sweet-and-bitter characteristics are ideal for fall’s cooler temperatures and the heartier meals that accompany them. What’s more, they’re sophisticated and masculine, with complex, whiskey-like notes that conjure up everything from nuts to caramel. So, whether you’re grilling sausages for an Oktoberfest-worthy cookout or enjoying a white-cloth Wagyu beef dinner, there’s a brown ale that’ll elevate your experience. 

Downtown BrownLost Coast Brewery

This lightly hopped ale has a mellow, chocolaty flavor influenced by roasted malts. No bitterness here; instead you’ll find hints of coffee and earthy grains. Pair with: Densely marbled steaks, chops.

Ellie’s Brown AleAvery Brewing Co.

At 5.5 percent ABV, this ale (pictured at left) goes down like a pilsner but is aggressive enough to satisfy IPA devotees. It smells of dark chocolate, but take a sip and you’ll be surprised by vanilla-tinged tones and a mildly bitter finish. Pair withSpicy meats.

Old Brown DogSmuttynose Brewing Co.

Heavy in alcohol (6.7 percent ABV) but light on bitterness, this ale smells like toffee and tastes like caramel. It’s creamy, with little aftertaste—an ideal choice for those who like simple beers. Pair withBBQ ribs.

Indian Brown AleDogfishHead Craft Brewery

Its dark complexion and thick head suggest a medium-bodied sweetness. But this brew is exceptionally bitter and boasts slight hints of molasses. Pair withSmoky meats, grilled vegetables.

Photos by Zachary Zavislak