ALE YEAH: 10 beers — hold the pumpkin spice — to tip back this season

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A 10oz. pour of the Celestial Alegria, a light and crisp IPA, from Lady Justice Brewing Company, located at 9735 E. Colfax Ave. Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

It’s no secret that North America is on the precipice of enduring its annual tsunami of a certain orange squash. From overly autumnal ales to the eponymous cartoon featuring Shulz’s ol’ Chuck Brown, sights, smells and artificial tastes of those sherbet-colored spheres will be inescapable come the official end of summer on Sept. 22. 

But, being the erudite crew that we are here at Sentinel HQ, we thought those overly quotidian fruits have seen enough of their time in the sun this year. Seriously, with record heat in August, they’ve just been soaking up the rays while the rest of the world has largely been relegated to staying indoors. And we’ve had enough of those gourds gloating in our gardens. 

So here’s a small smattering of 10 brews afield of the tastes that come compliments of those omnipresent jack-o-lantern vehicles. From peaches to chiles to strawberry lemonade, these local suds offer plenty of palate-pleasing piquancy without paying too many platitudes to, you know, pumpkins. 

They get you drunk, too.  

Cerebral Brewing | Denver | Ripe Trait

The seasons are on the brink of change and fall is just a hop away — and speaking of, here is a succinct little list of seasonal options from one of the best hop houses in the country, Cerebral Brewing. Plus, you kind of want to get in the good beer while you can before we are force fed gourd swill for the next three months. 

The brew masters have managed to can one of the quintessential stone fruits that has come to represent this great red state, the Palisade Peach. Cerebral took their house IPA, Rare Trait, and crammed it full of the juicy bits that contribute to all the love we show the Palisade Peach resulting in what they’re calling Ripe Trait. They describe it as having notes of peaches, peach cobbler and peaches in syrup. The fruity dream sold out quick in the four-packs offered with curbside pick-up, but they have them available in crowlers and you can also enjoy a variety of pour sizes on site, where they offer socially distanced, “parasoled” tables. 

— Philip B. Poston, Staff Writer

Cerebral Brewing | Denver | Brain Wash

Just because the temps seem to be dropping, let’s not be fooled into forgetting the wacky weather we experience annually. As we saw just last week with the snow, and back into the sunnies this week, the weather seems to be on track for it’s typical ups and downs. Not to be left out of seasonal crazes, this typically hazy hideout is cranking out seltzers now too. Their second and current offering is a rainbow sherbert infused hard seltzer, aptly named Brain Wash. It is certain to tickle the palate and the brain. It is available for purchase in four packs.

— Philip B. Poston, Staff Writer

Cerebral Brewing | Denver | Dirt Cake 

If you do prefer something a little warmer for the inevitable crisp evenings on the horizon, maybe pick up a bottle or two of Dirt Cake. Aptly described by Cerebral as liquid nostalgia, this heavy handed stout fits that description perfectly. It is a spitting image of the crazy pudding concoction, topped with Oreo’s and the occasional gummy worm, just, ya know, in liquid form. And coming in at 10% ABV, Dirt Cake may transport you to a simpler time — so give in to the need to blast a tune or 15 that you listened to in the days of yore.

Cerebral Brewing is located in the Bluebird District of Denver near the corner of Colfax Avenue and Monroe Street, at 1477 Monroe St. 

— Philip B. Poston, Staff Writer

Walters Brewery | Pueblo | Green Chile Lager

Anything pumpkin spice can do Pueblo chile can do better. Yes, even beer. We wait all year for those marisol chiles to hit the roasters, and each September we swear this crop was better than the last. True locals know few things pair better together than a bowl of hot Pueblo green and a schooner of a light crisp beer when the temperatures start to take a dip. Walter’s, the historic Pueblo brewery (ask your grandparents about it) that was resurrected in 2014, knows exactly how to combine that classic fall duo. The Green Chile Lager, coming in at about 4.8% ABV, isn’t too spicy or too heavy. It’s what every other brewery wishes it could do with a chile beer. There’s no burn here, just a little bite that captures what we love best about our home-grown chile — the flavor. Take a trip down south to grab a pint at the downtown taproom or find a six pack at *literally* hundreds of locations around the metro region. A full list is available at www.waltersbeer.com

— Kara Mason, Staff Writer

Breckenridge Brewery | Littleton | Autumn Ale

Littleton-based Breckenridge Brewery’s seasonal Autumn Ale is the quintessential fall beer. A crisp, refreshing ale, it’s not too light or too dark but has a nice full-bodied feel. According to the brewer it’s brewed with Munich malts and Bavarian hops, but the hops-averse need not fear, because it goes fairly light on the latter ingredient. At 7% ABV, it’s enough to warm you up without overloading you. It would be a nice beer to knock back while firing up the grill for the last couple times before the cold weather kicks in, and can be found in stores across the Front Range. Search online at breckbrew.com/beer-locator.

— Carina Julig, Staff Writer

Spice Trade Brewing | Greenwood Village | Chai Milk Stout

The spice must flow! This isn’t technically a seasonal beer, but it sure hits the spot. If you want something autumnal but aren’t quite willing to brave Spice Trade’s Pumpkin Spice Ale, this is the beer for you. A traditional stout with a bit of a twist, this beer combines the spices of a chai tea with the smoothness and dark, robust flavor of a stout. And unlike the at-times cloying chai options on offer at coffee shops, it isn’t sweet. A great choice if you want the heat of a chai in a cool drink — because who knows when it’s actually going to get cold and stay that way what with this year’s freak weather. You can purchase six packs of the brew at your local liquor store (search for availability at spicetradebrewing.com) or enjoy it at Spice Trade’s Greenwood Village Brewery at 8775 E. Orchard St. Ste. 811, which is offering dine-in service and pickup. Reservations are required.

— Carina Julig, Staff Writer

Avery Brewing Company | Boulder | Pomona

Avery’s newest barrel-aged beer is an adventurous tart ale with pomegranate and blueberry. Christened after the Roman goddess of fruit and orchards, Pomona lives up to its name. It’s fruit-forward without being sweet, and will be a big hit with fans of sour beers. It’s reminiscent of Odell’s Sippin’ Pretty fruited sour, but with a stronger taste, and is a fitting flavor combination to enjoy as late summer trickles into fall. It’s available at numerous grocery and liquor stores across Aurora (search at averybrewing.com/brew-finder) or at Avery’s tap room at 4910 Nautilus Ct. in Boulder

— Carina Julig, Staff Writer

Lady Justice Brewing | Aurora | Celestial Alegria 

The northern hemisphere may be waving a masked goodbye to summertime come Sept. 22, but that doesn’t mean Coloradans can’t still eke out a last few drops of bottled sunshine. Luckily, that’s just what the crew at Lady Justice Brewing on East Colfax Avenue is offering with their Celestial Alegria, a hazy IPA brewed to “embody the end of summer,” according to the minds behind Aurora’s newest brewpub. Sporting a reasonable 5% ABV and just 10 IBU, this particular barley pop offers the bright and citrusy notes of strawberries and lemonade — the perfect profile to enjoy before you turn to those dour stouts and porters ubiquitous among wintertime tap lists. What’s more, the suds were brewed in collaboration with local recording artist Lolita, whose newest single is available via a QR code that comes with a purchase. Such partnerships are standard practice at Lady J, the three owners of which have committed to gifting all profits over cost to local organizations that promote the wellbeing of women and girls. Cheers to that. Celestial is available at the taproom at 9735 E. Colfax for $5.50 pints of $14 crowlers Wednesday through Sunday. Other Lady Justice beers are also starting to pop up at local bottle shops, with several currently available at Spirits Wine Provisions in Arvada and Wyatt’s Wet Goods in Longmont. 

— Quincy Snowdon, Staff Writer

Great Divide Brewing Co. | Denver | Car Camper

Seasons come and go — sometimes in less than 12 hours in this bizarre vacuum of a state — but easy-sipping suds brewed to be enjoyed after a day spent in the dirt should be relished year round. And just because the calendar now reads “autumn” doesn’t mean that you should stop drinking glossy beers, or halt camping, or put the kibosh on romping around outside (with a mask on, of course). It’ll just be a bit more, you know, cold and miserable now. But pish posh, a little frost bite didn’t stop Ernest Shackleton, why should it stop you? And with a 5.0% Car Camper in hand, that numbness in your fingers and toes will feel a little less, well, numb. Great Divide’s hazy pale ale has been a welcome balm this summer, and it surely will continue to be this fall and winter and next spring and summer and next fall and winter and next next spring and summer — you get the idea. With a dash of citrus and the tiniest bit of zip sponsored by only 2 IBU, this little can of joy can tell those pumpkinheads — and their insistence that it’s now “sweater weather” — to shove it.

— Quincy Snowdon, Staff Writer

Dry Dock Brewing Co. | Aurora | Hopricot

It’s official: We’re in shoulder season, people. That means leaf-peeping (if Ullr didn’t ruin everything with his quick dose of early September snow), bad TV commercials from politicians and a forecast sure to volly from freezing to flip-flop weather with alarming regularity. Such is life in the Centennial State. To balance the chill with the warm, the sweaters with the suntan lotion and the horrendous political rhetoric with … more horrendous political rhetoric, you have to mix it up a little — literally. Available on tap at the Brewery’s “north dock” location on Tower road, this little devil is equal parts Apricot blonde and Hop Abomination IPA. It provides the crispness of the brewpub’s flagship fruit beer with the bite of an in-your-face IPA that sports a robust 70 IBU. A dash of summer and a dash of fall in one glass that only clocks in at 5.8% ABV, it’s a reasonable blend of two seasons to get you to the peppermint atrocities that will begin to rear their barber-poled heads come December. 

— Quincy Snowdon, Staff Writer