Calgary's weather left you cold? Warm up with this beer columnist's local fall picks

It feels like Calgary's skipped over fall and entered straight into winter but the chill in the air also means an excuse to try some crisp, seasonal brews.

Haydon Dewes is your guide to the season, from dark stouts to pumpkin spice

Calgary Eyeopener beer columnist Haydon Dewes shares his picks for the fall season. (Submitted by Haydon Dewes)

It feels like Calgary's skipped over fall and entered straight into winter but the chill in the air also means an excuse to try some crisp, seasonal brews.

"There's a beer for every season," beer columnist Haydon Dewes says. "When it gets cold, most people get unhappy but beer lovers are like 'excellent, dark beer time.'"

Dewes joined the Calgary Eyeopener on Friday, where he walked host Rob Brown through some locally brewed delights — from dark stouts to pumpkin spice.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Q: So let's start with some of the darker beers being released. What have you tried so far?

A: There's some goodies out there.

Some of the standards are coming out again. Wild Rose Cherry Porter, always good. Old Man Winter Porter from Ribstone Creek, always a great beer as well. 

A new beer was just released this weekend by Born Colorado Brewing, they've done a Canadian Mosaic Mild. Now, an English Mild is a light session beer … really made for those cold nights where you can sit and have a couple of pints in a pub. The cool thing about this beer is that they used Canada Malting Company malt entirely, and they used every type of malt they had. It's dark, but it's not too heavy. It starts warming you up for those bigger, darker beers you're going to drink when the snow really comes.

Q: Pumpkin spice. Why pumpkin spice?

A: Ooh. This time of year is also hilarious through beer social media channels. People lose their mind. 

They're kind of like the Toronto Maple Leafs. People who love them, love them with a passion. And people who hate them just disparage them non-stop.

So, this time of year we always see the pumpkin beers come out. They're a throwback to the fall harvest season of when pioneers first came to North America, that they made beers using pumpkin as a source of sugars for the beer.

Nowadays, you're more likely to get a beer that has pumpkin spice added. 

I tried a beer last night — this is the Railyard Pumpkin Spice Latte Nitro Stout.

It's got nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon. There's also coffee. It's a weird one. It certainly wakes up your senses to the weather we're having right now. I think they've nailed it.

I'll drink a couple just for humour and fun, but I'm not going to sit down and drink a lot of them.

Q: What does fall beer mean to you?

A: They've got Oktoberfest happening in Germany, the biggest beer festival in the world. I've been a couple of times. It's just amazing.

And the beer style they serve there is called sometimes called a festbier, sometimes called a marzen which is a darker, maltier style of lager. You can get them in liquor stores here if you look for Oktoberfest beer. They're essentially what you'd think of a traditional European-style beer, but a little stronger.

There's a good one locally: Brauerei Fahr in Turner Valley. It's run by a German guy, he only brews German styles. He's got a beer out this week called Oktober. Simple as that, beautiful simple cans and it's a true-to-style fest-beer.

Q: Good time for cider-making too, right? 

A: It is. So all those apples on your trees right now that are falling off, that stuff is perfect for cider. 

One of the local cideries, Uncommon, is doing a charity cider. So they're doing an apple drive. So if you've got any apples, doesn't matter if they're hail-damaged or if they look ugly, get them together and go drop them off at the tap room at 3921 Manchester Road S.E. They'll juice them up straight away and put them into totes. 

They're making a cider that will be released next season and they're giving a portion of that to the Calgary Food Bank.

They've got last year's apple-driver cider on tap, so when you drop off you can try the fruits of last year's labour as well.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener


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