It’s that special time of year again when the leaves are falling, college football games are on, and the scent of pumpkin spice is in the air. Call us biased, but Virginia is one of the best places to experience the natural bounty of Autumn. After all, we do have fantastic locally grown ingredients coming out of every region of the state.
Here are some of our favorite Virginia beers and breweries with amazing autumn flavors, using local ingredients.
Craving a beer that tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass? Alewerks in Williamsburg has the pumpkin factor you're looking for. It's made with fresh, local produce that is then spiced and baked in the oven before added to the brew. This beer the ultimate pie lover’s beer, with powerful notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. This wholesome beer will take you right back to Thanksgiving dinner.
Image Credit: Alewerks
Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk has gifted us with this traditional copper lager. It's a nod to brews that were once made in celebration of the marriage between Bavarian Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. If the history isn’t enough to entice you, the sweet notes of caramel toffee and toasted malt definitely will. This balanced beer is ideal for an Oktoberfest celebration. The best part? You won't even have to travel far to taste it. Prost!
Image Credit: Smartmouth Brewing Company
To create the perfect blend of autumn flavors, Barnhouse Brewery in Leesburg "dry spiced" its pumpkin ale with cinnamon sticks and freshly sliced ginger. Don't be fooled though, this beer isn't all sugar and spice. They included English and Munich malts to balance it out and give it strong malty backbone. We give it bonus points for having a great name, too.
Image Credit: Barnhouse Brewery
Hardywood in Richmond concocted this Wallonian-style Farmhouse Ale with flame-roasted Virginia sugar pumpkins and brown sugar spice. Although the ingredients used in this beer might sound like a delicate treat, don't be fooled. It has a hearty backbone that will warm you up on the chilliest of fall days.
Image Credit: Hardywood
Think of sitting by a fire with a warm mug of apple cider, but the apple cider is cold and actually beer - that’s O’Connor Brewing’s new farmhouse ale. This saison, brewed in Norfolk, has cinnamon, spice, and all things nice making it the perfect Fall brew.
Image Credit: O'Connor Brewing
Legend Brewing in Richmond created an incredibly drinkable brew just in time for autumn. Its Oktoberfest is a copper-colored lager with a rich flavor profile that goes well with lederhosen and a homemade bratwurst. Even if you're not going full-Oktoberfest this year, you can still enjoy this beer with its warm and toasty notes that come from the combination of Vienna, Munich, and Caramel malts used to make it.
Image Credit: Legend Brewing
A pumpkin beer with a twist! Stable Craft Brewing in Waynesboro released this amber-colored beer with pumpkins and yams for a sweet brew that contains all the fall flavors you love. The malts give it a hint of caramel, crust, spice - and everything nice. We recommend you drink this one next to a roaring fire to get the full effect.
Image Credit: Katherine Hensley for Stable Craft Brewing
This seasonal beer from Backroom Brewery in Middletown is a porter that's lightly spiced and packs a potent punch of pumpkin flavor. This farm-turned-brewery was the first of its kind in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, and it's one of our favorite spots to get a beer brewed with ingredients straight from the garden. They've got other great beers available on tap, but you better hurry if you want to try this one, it’s only available during the winter and fall.
Image Credit: Chibi Untappd
Dirt Farm Brewing in Bluemont makes this classic pumpkin ale, which is brewed with 400 lbs. of locally grown roasted neck pumpkins. The end result is a smooth, mildly spiced beer for maximum drinkability. One of the coolest things about this beer is that the pumpkins and hops are all grown right on the farm. After a glass or two, take a stroll through the fields for the ultimate fall foodie experience.
Image Credit: JH Untappd
Whether you like crisp ales with light hints of pumpkin spice, a creamy lager that tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass, or a traditional German-style Oktoberfest, this is arguably the best season for beer drinkers. So seize the season, grab a frosty stein, and head to your local brewpub to see what they've got on tap. We don't think you'll be disappointed.