What to drink as the weather cools and your SADD grows
Isastegi Sagardo Naturala
Mood: A sweaty, good time
This natural cider from Spain is perfect for you if you salt your apple slices. Far less carbonated than most American and British ciders, this cider has an aromatic front and a briny finish, with more than a few pickle notes. May I suggest pairing it with a shot of Laird’s 100 Proof Straight Apple Brandy? I may. And do.
Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale
Mood: Winter is coming
ABV: tread carefully
Once the weather cools off, days shorten, clocks are turned back, and what I like to call “World Series weather” begins, it’s time to break out this boozy bruiser of a scotch ale. At 7.7% ABV, this beer takes itself seriously so that you don’t have to. It features hints of snowy weather, roasted barley, and your favorite winter coat.
Foxie Canned Wine Spritzer
Mood: Please, God, don’t let summer end
ABV: 11%, aka seeing double
I have long been suspicious of the canned wine trend, but this lightly carbonated sparkling chardonnay is perfect for the last vestiges of summer. The label on the can boasts that this wine contains “natural quince flavor.” Until very recently I had no idea what quince is: a fruit that comes from the same family as apples and pears. Drinking this spritzer did not do much to clarify things for me, but it sure was tasty.
Marshall Oktoberfest Lager
Mood: GIMME A DAMN BEER
Before I describe any of these Oktoberfest beers, I have to say that every time I crack open an Oktoberfest I do so with suspicion. Any beer that isn’t good enough to drink year-round has a lot to prove. Thankfully, Marshall’s Oktoberfest is fucking delicious, with a velvet mouthfeel, notes of muscadine, and European flair.
Alloy Wine Works Weissland
Mood: Dazed and confused
A lightly hopped canned wine, Weissland is the perfect drink if the advent of fall has left you feeling a bit muddled. Fined with Amarillo hops, barrel-fermented with farmhouse ale yeast, and can-conditioned in the traditional method, this sparkling Chardonnay should be forgiven if it seems slightly baffled, tasting very much more like a saison or farmhouse ale than a wine. It is heavy on the tannins, dusted with an oaky aftertaste.
Anthem Ogletoberfest Lager
Mood: Good, clean fun
From their Uroburos Imperial Stout—one of the best imperial stouts available—to their Golden One Blonde, Anthem makes excellent beers. This is no exception. The most drinkable Oktoberfest-style lager I’ve ever had, this beer goes down easy, finishes smooth, and would be an excellent addition to any tailgate.
James E. Pepper’s 1776 Brown Ale
Mood: Existential fireplace lighting
ABV: really high
Feeling pensive? With 10.4% ABV, this beer, which is aged in rye whiskey barrels, doesn’t mess around. If you have a fireplace, consume this next to it, preferably with your feet up. It features significant notes of barley, figs, dates, ripe plums, rich tobacco, and vanilla. The whiskey barrel ageing comes through in the flavor, but is subtle with just the right amount of sweetness.
Lefthand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager
Mood: Regret, despair, shame
I have two things to say about this beer. The first: it’s an excellent choice if you hate beer and would like to prove to yourself why you hate beer. Secondly, it is conspicuously better in the bottle than on draft. On draft, it tastes like a bad decision. In the bottle, it only tastes like a mistake.