October and Beer. Beertober. Octobeer. However you arrange the two words, somehow it just makes sense. Maybe it’s the cooling of the weather or the rich history of Oktoberfest celebrations. Or maybe it’s because beer just tastes so da-- good.
Whatever the reason, it’s obvious that Chattanooga loves beer. With that spirit in mind, Nooga.com will visit some of the area’s beer hot spots and get suggestions on what beers we should be drinking from the expert staff.
Our first stop is Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe.This unassuming little store is home to possibly the best selection of imported and domestic beers in the region. Seriously, they have just about everything you could want beer-wise, from growlers to bombers, bottles to cans, good ‘ole USA IPA’s to the finest Trappist brews.
Beverage World owner Mitul Patel and assistant beer manager Ryan Pierce introduced us to five great beers to lead us into the cold weather ahead.
Bell’s Brewery—Best Brown Ale
“It’s a really good rich, robust brown ale that’s true to the style. You’ll get a good bit of nuttiness and a nice malt, cocoa, caramel,” according to Pierce. “For a brown ale, it’s also got this nice little bitterness.”
Pierce said the Best Brown Ale was one of the most popular seasonal beers offered at Beverage World.
Patel calls it “an American version of a winter welcomer.”
Bell’s Brewery says of the ale: “The malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.”
The brewery, located in Michigan, opened in 1983 as a store where the owner, Larry Bell, sold home brewing supplies. His first commercial beer was brewed in a 15-gallon soup pot. In 2010, Bell’s Brewery ranked eighth in total volume of all domestic craft brewers in the U.S.
Currently, the brewery offers a host of year-round, seasonal and speciality beers.
The Best Brown Ale is the company's featured beer for the month of Oct.
Samuel Smith—Winter Welcome Ale
“It’s basically an English ale, they call it an English Strong Ale, specifically for the winter," Patel said. “The flavor profile is more roasted malts and then a very mild spice: cinnamon, nutmeg and clove … there’s a bit of sweetness.”
“I get a little bit of an apple in the taste too,” Pierce said. “It’s a little bit drier of an ale ... it’s nice and light-bodied.”
Established in 1758, Samuel Smith is Yorkshire’s oldest brewery. Little has changed over the years. According to their website, the brewery still has it’s own copper making and repairs all its oak casks.
The Winter Welcome Ale is a complex concoction described as having “a luxurious malt character, which will appeal to a broad range of drinkers.”
Also of note is the label, which changes every season. This year, the bottle features an image of Samuel Smith and one of his famous Shire horses.
This beer has been available domestically since the early '90s.
Founders Brewing Co.—Breakfast Stout
Featuring the image of a baby eating a bowl full of something breakfasty (not beer, of course), this “double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout” combines the taste of your morning routine with beer.
Pierce said this beer is best served at room temperature.
“This is easily one of our most popular Fall seasonals,” Pierce said. “It’s not really limited, but it’s a very sought after beer.”
Patel said the flavor was robust.
“It’s brewed with coffee from Sumatra and Kona,” Patel said. “They also use real dutch chocolate.”
Another Michigan brewery, Founders Brewing Co. has been ranked in the top four breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com for the past four years in a row.
The company specializes in “complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics, bigger body, and tons of flavor,” according to their website.
The Breakfast Stout is dubbed “The coffee lover’s consummate beer,” according to the brewery.
“It makes a great float,” Pierce said. “Always use french vanilla ice cream.”
Southern Tier Brewing—PUMKING
“I’m actually not a big fan of pumpkin beers,” Pierce said. “To me, this beer is like drinking liquid pumpkin pie. It’s not heavily spiced like a lot of the other pumpkin beers on the market. It’s an Imperial, which means it’s really hefty ... very rich and decadent.”
Southern Tier Brewing is based out of Lakewood, NY, and produces more than 60,000 barrels of beer annually.
The PUMKING is described as having been “bewitched and brewed with pagan spirit.”
The description continues, inviting you to “take a whiff of this complex ale” that is “particularly tasty when paired with traditional Thanksgiving dinner, a complement to pumpkin pie and desserts.”
Many consider the PUMKING as “The king” of all pumpkin beers.
What is an October beer selection without a true Oktoberfest beer?
“Ayinger is one of the world’s best Oktoberfest selections,” Patel said. “In fact, it’s rated number one on beeradvocate.com”
The flavor of the beer is “bready and spicy,” Patel said.
Ayinger is a medium-sized German brewery located in Aying, Bavaria. The Oktober Fest-Märzen was the highest rated Vienna Märzen style beer at the World Beer Championships in 2007.
“To me, an Oktoberfest is just a medium-bodied, slightly sweeter lager,” Pierce said.
Reviews include the phrases “gentle crispness", “smooth and creamy” and “highly drinkable.”