Fall seasonals are starting to arrive, and the trend seems to be toward Oktoberfest and pumpkin brews. I'll be weighing in this week on a few of the former, but will take a pass on the latter. I prefer my pumpkin baked in a pie with whipped cream on top. In the meantime, there are some breweries bucking that two-fold trend. Here are three worthy of your attention, all in 12-ounce bottles.
Kona Brewing Pipeline Porter, $1.39-$1.69
Blended with fresh-brewed Kona coffee, this is the fall release in Kona Brewing's Aloha series. As you'd expect, it's a dark coffee color with aromas of toasted grain and an intriguing hit of sauteed mushroom. Fairly light bodied for a porter, this beer tastes of roasted barley and caramel malt with just a soft hint of hops, backed by light coffee and a crushed coffee bean bitterness on the finish.
Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild Limited Ale, $1.69-$1.99
This brew has a bit of a split personality. It's big on hops (pushing 80 IBUs) like an IPA, but made with Westmalle Trappist yeast, adding a bit of Belgian funk. It's a hazy golden pour with a thin but persistent head and a ton of resiny hops on the nose. This beer leads off with more bright hops on the palate, segueing to creamy malt in the middle, before the bitter hops amp things up again on the finish. It's decidedly different, in a good way.
Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA, $1.39-$1.69
This beer is on the dark side for an India pale ale, with a ruby tinge and a thick tan head that persists. Hop-driven aromas dominate, which are reminiscent of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale (a good thing). This is a beautifully balanced ale in which toasted malt and lightly bitter hops meld perfectly with notes of tropical fruit and lemon zest.