Fall beers can be so much more than just pumpkin ales. In fact, nothing says autumn like a mug of hot cider.
With the popularity of hard cider, we can have this seasonal favorite from our childhood in a boozy adult tipple. Ciders come in many different flavor profiles and are great for year-round quaffing, but particularly fitting for the fall. They range from traditional British versions that are dry and light in flavor, to sweeter profiles made with seasonal cinnamon or maple.
Here are four ciders that are ready to be enjoyed as is this fall. Read on for our recommendations on heating a few of them up.
The Saint (Crispin Cider Co.)
It's like a Belgian Tripel with apples. Coming in at 6.9 percent ABV, this cider is made with Belgian Trappist Ale yeast, giving it a floral bouquet and clove-like spice. This, balanced against the addition of maple syrup, gives this beer a creamy mouthfeel and decadence that is great for cooler weather. Crispin only uses fresh-pressed apples, and this keeps the fresh bright flavor of the fruit intact.
J.K.'s Cuvée Winterruption Farmhouse Hard Cider (Almar Orchards Hard Cider)
Though this is technically a winter seasonal, it's got all the best cold weather flavors -- vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon -- stirred in. This cider is rich and sweet, and coming in at 6.9 percent, it's for sipping. It would be delicious cold or warmed up a bit. Almar Orchards is an organic cidery, and the fresh unencumbered flavors really shine without any added flavorings.
McKenzie's Pumpkin Jack (McKenzie's Hard Cider)
This cider is made with pumpkin and fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It really does taste like pumpkin pie in a bottle. It has a sweet profile, but at 5 percent ABV, it's very easy to drink. If you have to have that pumpkin flavor, this is a great version.
Argus Ginger Perry (Argus Cidery)
A Perry is a cider made with pears; a similar process, but with the flavors of pear. Argus's Ginger version is very spicy with punches of fresh ginger flavor. Its dry finish accentuates the sharp ginger kick, and the 4.5 percent ABV and high effervescence make it quite quaffable.
Some like it hot: How to warm up your cider
J.K.'s Cuvée Winterruption Farmhouse Hard Cider and McKenzie's Pumpkin Jack would be perfect picks to warm up and bring out those flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, maple and pumpkin. Generally, these sweeter versions get more intense with a little heat. The best way to warm this would be slowly in a slow-cooker with a few cinnamon sticks thrown in to elevate the flavor. To add another layer of flavor and turn this into a cocktail, add a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey to your glass.
Hannah Davis is a Certified Cicerone and the director of brand marketing for World of Beer.