Hoppy beers accentuate taste of fall

Fall: A time of football mania, copious amounts of pumpkin pie and whipped cream, and the aroma of hops billowing from breweries across the states. This season has always been my favorite, especially post-21 as my palate began to adapt to strong, earthy flavors such as the greatly renowned IPA, or India Pale Ale, brew. This beer is not for the faint of heart, or the sober-minded. Join me as I review these not-so-known fall brews, mostly hoppy, and take note which brews you will likely ‘boos’ on this season.

Singin’ River IPA

The smooth consistency of this IPA makes it different from any other, and it is the newest brew lining the shelves of several local craft joints. Eager to take the first sip, I stopped and stood disappointed by the design of the can. While the river elements and treble clef for the ‘s’ immediately made me think of our rich, local history, it resembled clip art. I ordered the beer (freshly tapped) on draft at Sperry’s Steakhouse, and was everything but disappointed. However, perhaps with this being the first wave of canning for the Singin’ River folks, something was amiss. The flavor was off and even seemed flat as I neared the bottom of the can. Still, this is an up-and-coming local beer and I support their efforts.

Valkyrie Double IPA

The name says it all. Within two swigs, this double had me tappin’ my toes to the beat. The brew pours a golden orange, thick with foam. Brewed by Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe, Texas, the beer sits at a 9.2 percent alcohol by volume. You might want to make sure you are sitting down for this one. In fact, it might even be too harsh for me, which is a heavy statement. As the first craft brewery in Texas to provide canned beer, it makes the Valkyrie that much more of a legend. And if there is one thing you need to remember…wait…even I don’t remember. Just drink.

Harpoon UFO Pumpkin Ale

Amidst the pool of hops, this pumpkin pie flavored ale, from Boston, is a shining beam of hope for my blood-alcohol level.

The first sip transported me back in time to a moment, circa 1999, when I was licking the whipped cream off my oversized Space Jam shirt and asking my grandmother for another slice of the pie, specifically because I knew mom would say no.

The ale pours a beautiful orange liquid and on second glance, I might have even seen a few pumpkin bits floating toward the bottom of the glass. This beer is tame, so those eager to get into the Halloween spirit should make this a top choice.

Stone Go To IPA

It is now 1 a.m. and I have deemed myself a beer connoisseur. My friends just laugh, but they know. The first sip of this Stone brew tasted like a hoppy Blue Moon. It was smooth and full of citrus flavors. Stone is trying a round of ‘hop bursting,’ which is short for adding a large amount of hops at the final stages of brewing. This produces a more hoppy bite. All that to say I am not sure it made any kind of difference. My taste buds were left saying, “meh.” Perhaps my love for Arrogant Bastard, Go To’s bitter counterpoint in the hop brotherhood, is too strong. For other IPA fans with hop fixations, check this one off your list. I do not recommend it.