Abita Pecan Harvest Ale (Abita Springs, LA), $2/12 oz.: Brewed with roasted pecans, this light and festive brown ale is a great change of pace for fall and winter. Amber-colored and crystal clear, it features biscuity malt flavors that quickly give way to a distinct pecan finish. This lower-strength, anytime brew is ideal for the nut lover and makes a nice accompaniment to red meat, seafood, and of course, any nut dish.
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (Milton, DE), $2.25/12 oz.: After trying this, you may never spend another autumn without it. The flavors of spicy pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar, and nutmeg dominate but aren’t overpowering or overly sweet like in cheaper versions of this seasonal style. A slightly higher alcohol content gives this beer a warming quality for cool nights. Savor it with turkey, duck, lamb, or pumpkin pie.
Palmetto Espresso Porter (Charleston, SC), $1.60/12 oz.: Made by Charleston’s longtime resident brewing company, this ale boldly showcases the flavor of fresh-roasted espresso from Charleston Coffee Roasters. Ideal for java junkies, it’s dark in color but surprisingly light on the palate and delivers a hint of chocolate. Pair this Palmetto with roasted or smoked foods, or treat it as your after-dinner cup.
Coast Blackbeerd Imperial Stout (North Charleston, SC), $11/22 oz.: This pitch-black beer is silky smooth and oozes flavors of roasted malts and chocolate. Recent batches were aged in bourbon barrels. Be prepared, this imperial stout is nearly twice as potent as “regular” beer. It overpowers most foods but can complement strong cheeses and chocolate.
Stone India Pale Ale (Escondido, CA), $2/12 oz.: Most beer aficionados enjoy IPAs year-round, as the flavor imparted by huge quantities of hops seems to be appropriate anytime. Stone’s offering epitomizes the West Coast IPAs and is not for the faint-hearted, bursting with the herbal, spicy, and citrusy flavors of a trio of hops. On the stronger side, this ale goes beautifully with spicy food and sweet desserts.