Some say autumn is the best time to be on the East End—the summer traffic is gone and the weather is perfect, not too hot and not too cold. No season on the East End is complete, though, without an ice cold beer. The summer ales have given way to more flavorful, and many pumpkin-inspired, autumn brews. Here are some of the best offerings from local craft breweries this fall.
The brewery at Montauk Brewing Company was packed with fans every weekend during the summer, and for good reason. It’s a great spot to relax and have a cold one. Their traditional seasonal brew, Hop Blond Ale, is now available in cans in stores. A crisp hop finish sets this blonde ale apart from the rest. This is a balanced beer with a light straw color and smooth flavor. In addition, two more fall beers have been brewed in limited release batches, so your best bet to try these will be at the brewery on South Erie Avenue in Montauk. The Montauk Pumpkin Ale, aka Pumptauk, is hopped with of Magnum and EK Golding varieties and brewed with different spices and chocolate malt. At 6.1% ABV, Pumptauk is perfect for sipping as the weather gets crisper. There’s also the new NY Rye Pale Ale, which utilizes all New York State grown ingredients. Craft Master Hops in Mattituck supplied the quality local hops while New York Craft Malt provided 2-Row malted barley, as well as rye malt, giving a nice spicy quality to this beer. montaukbrewingco.com
Greenport Harbor Brewing Company gives its own take on the pumpkin craze with its Leaf Pile Ale. At 5.2 % ABV, this splendidly balanced autumnal ale is like pumpkin pie in a glass. Hand selected additions of ginger, cinnamon, whole bean vanilla, allspice, nutmeg and pumpkin give this copper-hued, aromatic beauty its distinctive flavor. Later in the season, cold winds and leafless trees herald the arrival of Greenport’s Anti-Freeze Ale. It’s A malt-forward, delicious deep amber English Olde Ale style brewed for those long blustery winter nights. It pairs perfectly with wool pants, big sweaters, bonfires and cold noses. greenportharborbrewing.com
No East End beer list is complete without Southampton Publick House, the oldest microbrewery on Long Island. The autumn special Pumpkin Ale is a unique amber-colored brew that has a generous amount of pumpkin as well as traditional pumpkin pie spices. These flavors give this unusual brew a definite seasonal character, which is practically made for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Other fall favorites include Grand Cru and Abbot 12, both Farmhouse Ales. Grand Cru is a richly spiced old world ale with notes of licorice, sweet orange and spices while the Abbot 12 is a strong, dark ale with notes of raisins, figs and caramel with a pronounced dark rum character. publick.com
Long Ireland Beer Company in Riverhead features its fall–time favorite Pumpkin Ale. It’s brewed using real pumpkin purée and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, caramel and smoky malts. The pale and crystal malts help to balance the flavor along with German Tettnang hops. longislandbrewing.com
The Shelter Island Craft Brewery offers up two fall specials. The Forbidden Fruit: Apple Ale at 6.9% ABV and the Twin Forks Harvest Ale, a Belgian-style brew. The folks at the brewery are always trying new flavors, so don’t be surprised if there are other beers on the menu. The best way to taste their beer is to enjoy them with the pairing menu or get a flight to sample the variety of flavors. Stop by their tasting room on North Ferry Road for a nice getaway on a fall afternoon. shelterislandcraftbrewery.com