Autumn in a Glass: Fall-Themed Cider, Beer, and Wine

The days are growing shorter in the Cowichan Valley, and the colourful flowers of summer have given way to the colourful leaves of fall. We’re sitting in that time between cold frosted beer mugs and cold frosted window panes. As the leaves crunch beneath your feet and the air takes on a refreshing chill, fall-themed cider and beer offer a delightful way to embrace the season.

Fall-themed cider and beer offerings are becoming a seasonal tradition here capturing the essence of fall. It’s time to get out those chunky knit sweaters and embrace the cozy and heartwarming flavours of autumn bonfires and brisk walks in the cool, crisp air.

Cider: It’s Autumn’s Brew

Cowichan Valley cider has a time-honoured history as one of the quintessential fall beverages. It’s a versatile and diverse drink that encompasses a wide range of flavours and styles. Autumn is the time when apples are harvested. Their flavours are at their peak, so it’s the best time to craft a delicious brew.

Spiced Apple Cider, a Good Book, and a Crackling Fireplace 

Apple is most certainly the most well known and common form of cider as apples come in an amazing number of varieties. Each brings its unique characteristics to the table, from sweet and juicy to tart and crisp. This versatility allows cider makers to experiment with different combinations. Crafted with warm spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, spiced cider is like a cozy blanket for your taste buds.

Nothing says autumn more than wrapping your hands around a hot spiced apple cider and breathing in the scents of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice: It’s Not Just for Coffee Anymore

Not into pumpkin spice lattes? Me neither! But it seems like the world goes crazy for them at this time of year. Try this fall favourite instead: pumpkin cider, which takes the essence of pumpkin pie and infuses it into a crisp, apple-based brew. This cider boasts flavours of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and tastes like a delicious autumn dessert in a glass. Skip the calories in that piece of pumpkin pie and enjoy the season’s signature flavour without the guilt!

Beer: Crafting Fall’s Magic

What says “fall is here!” more than the celebration of beer that is Oktoberfest? This festival is a beloved tradition that originated in Munich, Germany. It marks the arrival of autumn with the tapping of the first Oktoberfest beer keg. This style of beer is characterized by its rich, amber colour and a medium to full body. It has a balanced maltiness, with a clean, dry finish, making it perfect for pairing with hearty German fare.

Craft breweries and microbreweries in the Cowichan Valley have embraced the challenge of brewing unique beers that evoke fall. Taking inspiration from the spirit of the season, beer makers have introduced a variety of fall-themed brews that capture the spirit of autumn in a glass.

Pumpkin Ales: Brewing the Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin ales are a quintessential fall favourite. Crafted with real pumpkin and a blend of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, these ales are reminiscent of pumpkin pie in a glass. A variety of pumpkin beers embody the cozy essence of pumpkin carving and bonfires.

Harvest Ales: The Bounty of the Fields

Harvest ales celebrate bringing in the harvest and season’s agricultural abundance. These beers often feature ingredients like fresh hops, barley, and wheat, giving them a rustic, earthy quality. They are a perfect way to connect with the agrarian roots of fall in the Cowichan Valley and honour the hard work of the harvest season.

Brown Ales: Embracing the Essence of Cozy

Brown ales are another popular choice for the fall season. They have a rich and malty profile, with a flavour that has been described as toasty, chocolatey, caramel-like, or toffeeish. The nutty undertones and smooth finish make them a warm, inviting choice, perfect for chilly autumn evenings.

Pairing Fall-Themed Cider and Beer with Food

Fall-themed cider and beer are versatile beverages that can be enjoyed on their own, but they truly shine when paired with the right foods. Here are some delectable pairing suggestions:

  1. Cheese and Charcuterie Platter: A selection of cheeses, cured meats, and crusty bread is a perfect accompaniment to both cider and beer. The salty and savory elements of the charcuterie complement the sweet and spiced notes of the beverages.
  2. Roasted Root Vegetables: Fall is the season for hearty, earthy vegetables. Roasted root vegetables, seasoned with herbs and drizzled with olive oil, make a wonderful pairing with the malty richness of brown ales or the spice-infused notes of pumpkin ales.
  3. Apple Pie: What’s fall without a slice of warm apple pie? Pair it with a spiced cider or a pumpkin ale to create a heavenly combination that celebrates the quintessential flavors of autumn.
  4. Sausages and Bratwurst: For those enjoying Oktoberfest beers, sausages and bratwurst are the classic pairings. The beer’s maltiness and clean finish complement the savory and slightly spicy notes of the sausages.

Autumn’s Elixir: Fall-Themed Wines

As autumn paints the Cowichan Valley red and gold, winemakers craft a symphony of flavours that harmonize with the season’s essence. It’s the perfect time for rich, velvety reds to take center stage.

Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots offer robust notes of blackberry and cedar, evoking cozy evening by the fireside. Pinot Noirs dance with delicate hints of cranberry and spice, a perfect accompaniment to harvest feasts and festivals.

Crisp Chardonnays with apple and pear undertones bring to mind orchard wrapped in early morning mist. Finally, sweet dessert wines, embody the apple pies topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle.

So, gather your loved ones, savour the flavours of this wonderful time of the year, and toast to the magic of autumn with these delightful seasonal offerings.