Shorter days. Cool, crisp evenings. Leaves changing colors right before your eyes. No other season brings joy to a New Englander’s heart quite like Fall. For me, Fall brings with it changes that I look forward to during the last few weeks of Summer when I’ve had enough of the heat, enough of the beach, enough of a lawn full of burnt blades of grass. Even more, Fall marks an occasion that represents part of the very fabric that makes up this here Alehead. I give you the transformation of the Beer Fridge.
If you don’t have a Beer Fridge, stop reading this right now. I mean it, stop reading and get your ass to Home Depot and at least pick up a dorm fridge that you can stuff with a minimum of four 6-packs. I’ll forgive the lack of Beer Fridge if you live in the city not because I know that you don’t have room, but because I know you’re eating out every night anyway so your empty kitchen fridge will have a dedicated Beer Shelf to serve the purpose. If you live in a house though, there’s simply no excuse. Me? I’ve recently graduated from the dorm fridge to a fullsize freebie fridge that sits in my basement full of delicious brews at all times. I like variety, so I’ll generally have anywhere from 5-10 different beers to choose from in a variety of styles. Like any good Alehead I get entirely carried away at every beer store I go into so sometimes supplies get a bit ahead of my actual consumption (When you add my homebrews into the mix, there’s just a lot of beer and I’m only one man). With that, let me walk you through a proper Fall Beer Fridge Transformation Project.
I believe I’ve mentioned in the past what I like to stock up on for the Summer. I don’t want to go into too many details on this point since Summer has long since passed, but here’s a sampling of what I had left in my Beer Fridge as the we turned over the Equinox. 2 bottles of Mayflower Summer Rye, 1 bottle of Ipswich Summer, 1 bottle of Monk’s Flemish Sour, 2 bottles of Sam Adams Summer Ale, 1 bottle of Weihenstephaner Weisse, and a smattering of other lighter style beers that need not be mentioned. First thing’s first, start your drinking. Local seasonals are up first since freshness becomes an issue. These beers aren’t meant for keeping so chug away. Second, drink any of the better beers that you have on hand that you don’t think you’ll want when the weather runs colder. I love the Weihensephaner, but I don’t want that in the middle of the Winter so that half-liter is up next for me. Some beers you don’t necessarily need to drink right away. The Monk’s is fine as a year-round brew so I’ll keep those on hand for when I’m feeling like a change or when friends come over. Same goes for any macros like Bud/Miller/Coors. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, they’re always a bad idea but most every fridge has em’. Just push them to the back in their proper place for when your dad comes over. It should go without saying, but if you have any Summer homebrews left you need to drink those up too. Trust me, they aint making it to next Summer. Now that the Beer Fridge is cleaned out, it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll be stocking for the Fall.
If you’re like me, and I kn0w you are, you’ll want to tailor your tastes to the cooler Fall season. I’m not only looking for Fall seasonals, Oktoberfests, and Pumpkin Beers, but also for styles that mesh well with this blessed time of year. I need something a touch heavier both in body and booze which will usually lead to something more flavorful and robust. Where Summer has Ryes, Pale Ales, Witbiers, Weizens, lighter Lagers, Fall will bring on the Porters, IPA’s, and darker Lagers. To give you a quick idea of what the Transformation Project brings this year, I’ll show you what I came home with from my last two trips to my favorite local packie.
Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter – Light in body yet powerful on flavor, no better beer than a Porter for temps in the 50’s.
Troegs Nugget Nectar – To be honest, I need this beer year-round but it does tend to fit better in the Fall
Shipyard Pumpkinhead – Definitely not the best pumpkin beer out there but it’s available and it’s what I grabbed. I can barely tell the difference between the best and worst of your everyday pumpkins so I’m not picky
Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin – Always throw a couple of 22’s in the Fall Fridge lineup. Bought this based on the Professor’s recommendation and it did not dissapoint. I know I said I can’t tell the difference between Pumpkin beers, but high-gravity special bottlings like this one are the exception.
Magic Hat Ourtoberfest – Gave them another try, dissapointed as always. Boring beer, but it’s not like I didn’t rip through the sixer in two days
Tuckerman Brewing Headwall Alt – Altbier and Fall are a perfect match
Brooklyn Oktoberfest – For my money, Brooklyn does the best domestic example of the style, hands down
Dogfish 90 Minute IPA – Crap, I can’t believe I was out of the 90 already. This needs to be in my fridge year-round.
As always, I went overboard on various 22’s of Imperial IPA’s and other headier styles befitting a chilly Fall night. Most of these I place in a box next to the fridge since I have no idea when I’ll be partaking in their beauty. The great thing about the Fall Beer Fridge is that your lineup will usually fit just right come Winter. Once Winter starts I’ll make sure I clean out the oldies and Seasonals, but any Porters and IPA’s still left standing will work out just fine up until Spring. I love the Spring Beer Fridge Transformation project but that time of year brings with it some sadness since I’m trading in some of my favorite styles for lighter fare. That’s why the Fall Transformation is the best. Trading a Pale Ale for an Imperial IPA not only seems delicious, it just seems right. If loving Fall is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.