Fall Beer Preview: New Brews & Old Favorites on the East End

Fall dark beer in the leaves
Fall beer is here! Photo: Ysbrand Cosijn/iStock/Thinkstock

Fall heralds the arrival of pumpkin beer and Oktoberfest, but that’s not all local craft breweries on the East End have to offer this season. Old favorites make their return and new brews make their debuts this fall, and some seasonals that were hard to find last year will have a wider distribution in 2015.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, with taprooms in Greenport and Peconic, once again offers Fresh Hop Ale, made with cascade hops and nugget hops sourced from North Fork Hops and Wesnofske Farm. The hops are picked from the vine and added to a brew all in the same day. This incomparable beer, released in late September, is only available on draft. Greenport Harbor’s beloved pumpkin spice beer, Leaf Pile, is on tap and, newly, in bottles with artful designs by East Hampton’s Scott Bluedorn. Oyster Stout will return in time for the brewery’s fourth annual Oyster Festival in October. The dark beer is made in the style of an Irish stout and both the meat and shells of local oysters are added to the kettle.

Southampton Publick House, the oldest brewery on Long Island, offers its North Fork Fresh Hop exclusively at its brewpub and restaurant in Southampton Village. The beer is made with hand-picked hops from Laurel. Oktoberfest is available far and wide on draft starting October 2, the day of Publick House’s annual Oktoberfest celebration with German food specials. Southampton Pumpkin Ale, on tap and bottled, comes out each year in early September. Ingredients include Bourbon vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and pumpkin puree. Coming in early November, Southampton Imperial Porter is a high-gravity beer—big flavor and high in alcohol, approximately 7.2%. Flavor notes include chocolate, caramel and toffee, with a hint of roasty sweetness. Get it on tap or bottled.

Long Ireland Beer Company, with a brewery and taproom in Riverhead, makes its Pumpkin Ale with real pumpkin puree, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Co-founder Greg Martin says the ale is the number 2 seller for Long Ireland, out of more than 30 beer varieties brewed each year. The brewery’s Oktoberfest, which was done in a small run for its debut last year, is in full production for 2015 and available on tap and in six-packs of bottles. “It’s a true, Märzen-style Oktoberfest,” Martin says. The deep-amber beer is made with lager yeast in a 45-day process for authentic flavor. To make the occasion, an Oktoberfest celebration is planned October 3 with a screening of the film Beer Fest, plus German food and 1-liter mugs on offer. The 2015 Black Friday Imperial Stout, a heavy, dark beer made with chocolate malts, will be released the day after Thanksgiving. The taproom will offer the chance to try the 2011 through 2014 editions as well, to taste how they have aged. “As it ages, certain flavors become more pronounced on it than others,” Martin says. Chocolate Porter, a medium-bodied porter with a baker’s chocolate bitterness to it, is coming back in early November for its third year, available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles.

Montauk Brewing Company is bringing a number of seasonals to its South Erie Avenue taproom exclusively. Pumptauk, MBC’s pumpkin ale, will make its debut. “We’ve never done one since home brew days, so this is our first go at it commercially,” MBC co-founder Vaughan Cutillo says . The small-batch beer will be made with local pumpkins, as soon as the pumpkins are ripe and ready, plus spices that give it aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger. Montauk Golden Ale is a harvest ale made with Belgian yeast that gives it notes of spice and pepper. The beer has an apple sugar finish and flaked oats give Golden Ale a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Fishing Vessell Porter returns, but this dark beer now has a tweaked recipe. Hop Blonde Ale returns this fall and will be available in cans for the first time. Arrowhead Red Ale, an Irish red, will come out in cans in December.

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