The Beers of Autumn
Last month we spoke to Lorraine at Grape and Ale on Oak Island and asked her for recommendations for this month’s beer sampling column. She came through with three beers that speak to the volatile nature of early fall in southeastern North Carolina, where it can be perfect beach weather one day and chilly football weather then next. We have a summer Gose for the beach days, a New England IPA for the cooler days, and an Oktoberfest Marzen because, well, it’s October.
Also, we’ve added comments from the lovely and talented Lisa this month. We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and this seemed like a great way to celebrate. Ok, that’s a stretch. In reality, we tasted together and her comments made me smile, so I’m sharing them. You’ll see why I’m always smiling — this is my life.
Anyhow, off to the tastings!
Westbrook Brewing Co. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Gose— Gose Style Ale brewed with strawberry, rhubarb, cinnamon, and vanilla. From Mt. Pleasant, SC
The Label says: Beat The Heat With This Sweet And Tart Summer Treat
Lisa Says: It smells awful, but it doesn’t taste too bad.
Jeffrey Says: I’m not generally a big fan of sours, and a Gose is pretty close.It’s at the very least sour-adjacent. But this really lives up to the label. It’s sweet and sour and all kinds of refreshing. Given how September and October can get downright summery around these parts, I’ll go ahead approve this recommendation. I find that I’m finishing the can, when I wasn’t at all planning to. But at only 4.5% ABV, that won’t hinder my work on the next two reviews.
Bill’s Brewing Co. This Is What Space Smells Like New England IPA
ABV: 6.7%, IBU 21
Lisa Says: I likey. It tastes really light and bright. I wouldn’t move it up into my Top 10, but I’d be happy to drink one if someone brought it to me.
Jeffrey Says: So I think the story behind New England IPAs is that they needed something with the IPA name that tasted good. People WANT to be cool and drink IPAs, but the hops wars had made IPAs nigh on undrinkable. Enter the New England IPA. It’s nice, beer-tasting beer, with detectable hops for sure, but not so bitter that you can’t take a sip without making a face. That all being said, this beer is quite delicious. It tastes like a beer should. It’s hazy, which I suppose is all the rage now, but aside from aesthetics, I don’t think that makes a terrible lot of difference.
Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. House Oktoberfest, Marzen-style Lager
6.3% ABV IBU: N/A
The Label Says: Brewed with traditional German malt, hops and yeast of the highest regard for a refined flavor deserving of the most discerning palette. (This beer almost lost points for the choice of the most unreadable font known to man for the preceding text).
Lisa says: Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. This is really good. Where is this made again?
Jeffrey Says: I have deep German roots on my family tree. This is The Beer of My People. Maybe it’s genetics, but while I can appreciate a hoppy ale, my heart lives in the Land of Malt. This lager hails from that land. It is, and this is a technically accurate Beer Term, Malt-o-licious. It’s borderline bready, as a matter of fact. It makes one desire a big pretzel. The pretzel vendors of Oktoberfest would heartily approve of this being served. And so do I.
All three of these breweries are within relatively easy driving range. Bill’s Brewing is actually on Market Street in Wilmington, just past the train tracks on the right. They have, or do when there’s not a plague happening, outdoor volleyball courts as well as a restaurant and the brewery. It’s a great place and we heartily recommend it. The other two breweries are Charleston area operations. Westbrook is in Mount Pleasant, just our side of the bridge from Charleston proper, and Edmunds Oast is on King Street in downtown Charleston. King Street is a fun little destination in itself, as well as the rest of Charleston honestly, so when things look like they will be comfortable for taking a road trip again, we plan a visit. We think you should too.