It was a very hot summer in Tennessee. 2016 ranked #2 on the number of days over 90 degrees. Summer started in June and powered on until the end of September. The heat usually breaks near the end of August, but not this year. And that made it hard to get excited about fall beer.
Today was beautiful. A cold front pushed rain through Middle Tennessee, not only chilling the temperature but washing a few tons of pollen out of the air. It was wonderful to see daytime temperatures in the 60s, it’s been too long.
The clouds are hanging around and it is slightly dreary, but it is better than blistering heat. But the cool days of fall mean it’s time for fall seasonals, and our friends at Highland make some great one. We are thrilled that King MacAlpin has returned for its second year. We loved Highland’s unique take on a West-coast IPA last year, and if memory serves correctly, this year’s is even better. The beer is piney and resiny, as you would expect, but the bright tropical and citrus aromas and flavors were even more prominent this year. Brewmaster Hollie has introduced several new beers, and this one is our favorite.
Also back for fall is Highland’s annual take on an Oktoberfest bier, Clawhammer Oktoberfest. I recently got to taste over a dozen Oktoberfest/Marzen/Festbiers, and Clawhammer was one of my favorites. It’s brewed with authentic German malts and Noble hops and tastes like a Marzen should. Rich, toasty malt flavors balance an earthy, spicy hop bitterness. A great beer for a cool fall day. Don’t let the season in without enjoying a pint!
Disclosure: The beers were provided free for our consideration. As always, we try to be impartial and honest. If we like a beer, we’re going to tell you why. If we don’t, we’ll tell you why we don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean you won’t. Every palate is different.