Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top5 Autumn Beers & Great Pumpkin recipes!

Autumn without a doubt, is my favorite season. It's that time of year when my Hunter boots and a scarf become part of my uniform. When the sidewalks and tree lines streets are glittered with color and a roasty fall breeze makes the golden and orange leaves dance along the street. It just brings a smile to my face thinking about it, not to mention it's also perfectly acceptable to have soup or chili for every meal and a pumpkin beer every evening. Yes, this is my season and I wanted to celebrate it by introducing my Top5 favorite fall beers that are in and out of Chicago area.


Where to find the Great Pumpkin and other Autumn beers in Chicago

  1. Horse Thief Holllow Cheval Duex I'll be honest here, I'm a bit biased on this one. It is a fantastic Autumn spiced beer, it has the perfect amount of sweet potato and spice, and still tastes like a beer, it was even a Silver Medalist at this year's World Beer Cup, but I'm also good friends with the head brewer, David Williams, who also is one of the founders of CHAOS Brew Club. So proud of him and this fantastic tasty brew! If you're in Chicago you need to head down to Southside, where this pub resides in Beverly to grab a pint and some delicious grub. There food is top par and pairs excellently with the beers on tap. If you're free on Thursday Oct. 30th then you should consider this great craft beer event being held at the brew pub, where you'll hear The Legend of Horse Thief Hollow and other Chicago ghost stories, brought to you by History on Tap. Your ticket includes a sample of this beer among others, yum!
  2. Metropolitan Brewing Afterburner Oktoberfest Afterburner Another solid German brew from the crew at Metropolitan. I was at the Pop-Ip Taproom Event held back on Sept. 3 at Small Bar where I had one the of the first chance to taste this toasty sweet malty beer with a dry finish. It's definitely a go to Autumn beer in Chi-town.
  3. Revolution Oktoberfest In Chicago, we don't need a reason to throw a party, but this beer gets one all to it's own anyway. The release of Rev Oktoberfest in Chicago is always looked forward too, it is a refreshing, classic, crisp and tasty brew. Get it on draft at the tap room in a mug, or pick up a six-pack on your way home from work.
  4. Pipeworks Disperos De Batata This doesn't scream pumpkin, but it does scream tasty Autumn inspired flavors! I love this brew made with sweet potatoes and spices, it's a fall warmer-uper at 8.5% and it's so good, you should probably pick up two bombers the next time your at Bottles and Cans.
  5. Goose Island Oktoberfest This recipe of Oktoberfest is considered a classic BJCP style and found right in our own backyard. Sometimes us Chicagoans, give our Goose a hard time since they sold the majority of their company (58%) to InBev back in 2011, but they still make really solid beers, like this tasty Oktoberfest/Marzen. And 312 may be brewed in NewYork now, which makes me cringe a little.. but then again, you never hear any of us complain on Black Friday, do ya? 

When outside of Chicago grab these tasty brews

  1. New Glarus Staghorn This is a great, clean easy drinking Oktoberfest, one of the best I've ever had. If you find yourself North of the Illinois border, you should pick some up, cause this beer is only in Wisconsin!
  2. Kasteel Ingelmunster Pumpkin The name is a mouthful and so is the beer. If you like Belgian styles and decadent imperial pumpkin brews, look no further than this beer! Hard to find in Chicago, but I recently had it on tap at The Bad Apple, it's brewed in Belgium, so if you find yourself on the other side of the ocean this time of year, make sure to check it out, yum! 
  3. Anderson Valley Fall Horn' As far as Pumpkin beers goes, this one is a keeper. I've always loved Pumpking, but at times it starts to taste too sweet if you have more than one. Fall Horn' is just the right amount of pumpkin and spice and you should have no problem drinking a six pack. You can find it in Chicago, but it's native to California.
  4. Hoppin' Frog Barrel Aged Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale This a rare and really tasty pumpkin beer. If Hoppin' Frog does one thing right it's making a really good bold brew. If you can get your hands on one of these, pick it up. I bought mine the last time I visited the brewery which is in Akron, Ohio and it was already a year cellared. 
  5. Lakefront Pumpkin Also North of the Illinois boarder, located in Milwaukee, but you can find it in Chicago at Binny's and Mariano's. This is a classic go to pumpkin beer, a good staple to have around the house this time of year.


Great Pumpkin recipes!

I also love to cook, soups, stews, chilli... yum! And most of my dishes are Paelo... I try to leave the carbs to the beer, so I thought I would end this post with my favorite pumpkin, butternut squash soup recipes listed below and Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good (pic to the right), which clearly is not Paleo, because it's drowning in cheese, but it's always a hit a Fall party, including my brew club's CHAOS Harvest Fest party this coming Saturday, on Oct. 18th, where I'll be serving it. If you're interested in attending, get your tickets here.

Nancy Brew's Squash-tastic soup!
(Paleo and veggie lover friendly!)

- (3) medium size sweet potatoes peeled/chopped/roasted
- (1) medium size butternut squash halved/de-seeded/roasted/de-skinned chopped
- (1) 15oz pack of organic pumpkin puree 
- (1) large vidalia onion (they are a bit sweeter than yellow onions) saute with coconut oil
- (1) 14 oz can of organic coconut milk 

Puree everything above and season to your liking. I like to add a bit of pumpkin spices, and some hot spices, like cayenne pepper or some sweet/hot yellow curries, I switch it up every time and taste/adjust as needed. If the soup in a little thick you can always add more broth or water to thin it to the consistency you like.  

I'll then divide up the soup in individual servings and freeze the containers so I have fresh homemade soup ready at hand for the Fall and Winter months. — This soup is also a spin-off one of my Autumn brews, Hot Squash, which I blogged about last year, but tweaked the recipe this year, when I brewed the all-grain version of it. Check back soon, to read the post on that brew.

Nancy Brew investigates:

What are your favorite Autumn beers to brew and/or drink?
Do you have a special go-to fall time recipe you'd like to share?

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