Seasonal Fall Beer Made in the Mitten

By: Toni Cunningham | September 17, 2014

Pumpkin beer is like candy corn. You either love it, or you hate it; there is no in between. I, for one, love a nice, spicy pumpkin ale. While it’s somewhat bittersweet to bid adieu to citrusy, summery beers for the time being, personally, I am ready to embrace fall’s heavier brews that pair perfectly with tailgate food and chili.

Whether you’re looking for a six-pack to bring to that aforementioned tailgate, or just want to grab a pint somewhere, the breweries of Metro Detroit (and a little further out) have you covered (and then some) when it comes to seasonal fall beer. Get ready to whet your whistle with one of the following!

Liberty Street Brewing Company, 149 W. Liberty St., Plymouth, serves its Punkin’ Ale through February, so you’ve got plenty of time to get over there and kick back with a pint. The brewery also has a Hard Cider and Cherry Hard Cider, allowing you to explore (and taste) even more wonderful aspects of fall.

While Liberty Street has a limited food menu (think simple snack items), the brewery allows its patrons to order food from local restaurants and have it delivered. How cool is that?

Short’s Brewing Company, 121 N. Bridge St., Bellaire, is one of my very favorite Michigan breweries in the L.P. (the U.P. is a completely different ballgame). Short’s has plenty of seasonal beers, as well as limited releases throughout the year. Autumn Ale, a malty and hoppy bitter ale, is available all fall, while Noble Chaos (a German-style Oktoberfest) and Wowee Zowee (a golden ale with mint and mango) are available through October.

Some of Short’s limited fall releases include Beard of Zeus (a hoppy IPA available this month), Lil’ Wheezy (an amber ale also available in September) and Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster (a double IPA with guava and lemon notes, available in early October).

Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, 311 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, has three different fall seasonals that will be released throughout the coming months. Bam Noire, a dark ale with notes of plum, roasted raisin and coffee, is available this month. October’s seasonal release is Fuego del Otono, an amber malt with caramel notes, and Maracibo Especial will be released in November. It’s a brown ale with notes of cacao, cinnamon and orange peel.

Get them while you can, because they won’t be around for long!

New Holland Brewing Company, 66 E. 8th St., Holland, may be located way over on the west side of the state, but luckily Ichabod, it’s fall seasonal, is available by the bottle and well stocked in Metro Detroit. Well, perhaps I should say that it was well stocked. This beer is so beloved in my household that we’ve been stocking up on six-packs like it’s the year 2000 again.

Anyways, Ichabod is made with real pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you have some time for a weekend trip this fall, I urge you to head to Holland to visit the brewery. It’s located in a quaint downtown area as well!

Bell’s Brewery, 8938 Krum Ave., Galesburg, is the brewery that makes my beloved Oberon, which will, sadly, be gone from store shelves soon enough. Bell’s fall seasonal is Best Brown Ale, a malt beer with hints of cocoa and caramel. It may not be Oberon, but it’s an excellent substitute for the fall season.

Woodward Avenue Brewers, 22626 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, or “the WAB,” as the cool kids know it, has an amazing pizza oven and even better beer. WABtoberfest is a toasted lager, and the WAB’s nod to Oktoberfest, obviously.

If you were at Ferndale’s DIY Street Fair last weekend, you might have seen Gourdzilla Pumpkin IPA being served beneath the beer tent. If you saw it and didn’t try one, well, shame on you! Also, I would like to personally shake the hand of whichever guy or gal came up with the clever name “Gourdzilla.”

Arcadia Brewing Company, 103 W. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, is another great local producer of seasonal beers, and the fall’s Jaw-Jacker is a spicy amber wheat ale with hints of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. This one doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin, so if you’ve got an aversion to pumpkin (and are apparently an alien), you might enjoy Jaw-Jacker.

Griffin Claw Brewery, 575 S. Eton St., Birmingham, promises that its Screamin’ Pumpkin Ale “is like a slice of warm pie.” You had me at pie. The ale contains notes of cinnamon, clove, molasses and, of course, pumpkin. Want to know something even cooler? Pick up some Screamin’ Pumpkin Ale at your local grocery store and you’ll find that if you’re drinking one around a midnight fall bonfire that the CANS GLOW IN THE DARK.

Atwater Brewery, 237 Joseph Campau St., Detroit, celebrates Oktoberfest with Bloktober, a malty amber lager. You can order one at the brewery location, or head to Atwater in the Park, 1175 Lakepointe St., Grosse Pointe, the off-brewery biergarden.

Arbor Brewing Company, 114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, has both a brewpub and microbrewery location where you can indulge in some special fall brews. Try out Violin Monster, a wheat beer with hints of brown sugar and spice. It packs a punch at 9.5 percent, so make sure you have a designated driver to take you home (or pick up a six-pack and stay at home).

Night Stalker Pumpkin Cream Stout isn’t available until Halloween, but it’s got hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. HOPTOWN Brown IPA is a full-bodied citrusy beer with hints of caramel and chocolate, and is available through October.

Oktoberfest Bier is a Brewpub only special, available throughout the month of September until they run out. It’s a balanced lager that is both sweet and hoppy.

Motor City Brewing Works, 470 W. Canfield St., Detroit, has two fall seasonal brews: Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Ale. They will both be available soon through the end of October. Pumpkin Ale is made with a variety of spices and pumpkins that were grown right here in the Motor City. Oktoberfest is brewed in limited quantities each year, so you’ll want to head to the taproom at the end of the month to get it before it’s gone. It’s a Bavarian-style malt beer that’s both smooth and hoppy.

Now remember, if you have had two pumpkin ales, you probably shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car. And if you recognize the sitcom that line comes from, we could definitely be the best of friends. Cheers to fall beer in the D!