Harvest time is here and, with it, good old fashioned harvest beers are on tap throughout town. Pumpkin beers and Oktoberfest lagers are well-known fall styles, but let us not forget about the lesser-known wet hop ale. Here in Flagstaff, local breweries are cooking up some fun styles to prepare us for fall and winter.
Wanderlust Brewing Company will be celebrating its seventh year in beer on Oct. 12. For its anniversary, brewers are creating a Doppelbock which will be rested on maple wood and released both in bottles and on tap. Westbound Vagabond will be making its yearly debut and this year’s iteration will highlight Amarillo and Galaxy hops for a fruity finish. If fruit is your thing, keep an eye out for the Blackberry Sour “Banjo Bill,” a kettle-soured ale with blackberry puree.
Historic Brewing Company is set to release a special pumpkin spice version of its popular Piehole Porter, Pumpkin Piehole. Continuing with the harvest theme, Historic has brewed Mission to Marzen. A German-style lager with rich, bready malt tones is balanced by the perfect amount of hops to make this beer easy to drink. If you are keeping up with the brewery’s Grand Canyon Conservatory collaborations, you should be happy to know Hermit Trail Hoppy Amber is on its way to a tap handle near you.
Lumberyard Brewing Company has also released an Oktoberfest style that you can find on tap and in cans, and a special Arizona style of harvest ale will be served at the brewery, 5 S. San Francisco St., on Tuesday, Oct. 15. This month also welcomes a prickly pear ale in a firkin. Now, this word may seem made up, but it is a traditional style of serving vessel that looks like an old barrel and is tapped and served on their bar top. This pink ale is being served throughout October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Across the tracks, Flagstaff Brewing Company is working on three German-style beers for fall. A traditional Marzen is on the schedule, but taking things a bit outside of tradition, their experts are also brewing up a bock and a Dunkelweizen, both German beers but with radically different flavor profiles. A bock is a flavorful lager with a deep, rich bready character that finishes smooth and clean while a Dunkelweizen is a dark German wheat beer with dark bready characters and a hint of banana and clove courtesy of its expressive yeast.
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Speaking of expressive, the brewers over at Dark Sky Brewing Company will be expressing their love of hops by brewing up a fresh hop IPA using Amarillo hops. What is a fresh hop IPA? Well, before most hops are used in the brewing process they are kiln dried and pelletized. This process inevitably causes some of the more delicate aromatic oils to be released, never to be smelled again. With a fresh hop (also called wet hop) beer, the hops are picked and immediately shipped to a brewery to go straight into the kettle. The shorter time between picking and brewing—48 hours or less—allows the more delicate characters to stay in the finished beer. If you have the opportunity to try a fresh/wet hop beer, you won't be disappointed.
Beaver Street Brewing Company has one of my favorite fall-style ales on tap year-round, but drinking an award-winning R&R stout during the cooler months can't be beat. Among Beaver Street’s wonderful collection of beers will soon be the controversial hazy IPA. Loved by many, hated by some and often misunderstood, the hazy IPA is a hop-forward ale that aims toward more hop flavor and a round mouthfeel rather than enamel stripping bitterness. These styles drink best when fresh, so stop by mid-October and see what one of Flagstaff’s first breweries has whipped up.
Mother Road Brewing Company will also be brewing its take on a hazy IPA. This hazy hop fest is brewed as part of a fundraiser for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. One brewery from each state has been selected to brew a similar recipe, and all of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the NPCF. Loral, Centennial and Simcoe hops should bring this beer a floral, fruit-forward character with some pine and citrus notes in the background. Mother Road Brewing has also brewed up a fresh/wet hop IPA with hops from a small Colorado hop farm. At the time of printing, this beer has already been released but there should be some kegs remaining if you get there quickly.
Although not specifically a fall brew, fans of Mother Road’s Tower Station can stop by High Altitude Home Brew Supply and Bottle Shop, 2710 N. Steves Boulevard, to check out the special release of extra dry-hopped Tower Station brewed exclusively for our grand opening. A limited supply of these cans are available, so get them before they are gone forever.