Some things were just meant to go together — spaghetti and meatballs, Lennon and McCartney, Key and Peale, Tom Brady and Super Bowls. I’d add craft beers and autumn to that list.
Sure, some people will argue (and with merit), that a good craft beer really has no seasonal allegiance. Fair point. But the cool, crisp days of autumn, for my money, provide the absolute best times to enjoy a well-crafted brew. Why? Probably because the more hospitable weather encourages me to be more active, whether I’m pedaling, paddling or hiking. And that extra effort, I’ve always believed, deserves some reward.
New Englanders, and visitors to the area, are blessed with a ridiculous number of micro-breweries, and almost as many brewfests over the fall calendar. To select the “best” of these craft beers is a tricky proposition, given the fact that everyone has different tastes. So while some folks swear by The Alchemist’s Heddy Topper, a wonderful Imperial India Pale Ale, other folks might prefer a rich Hill Farmstead’s Everett Porter, Tree House Brewing’s Hold on to Sunshine sweet stout, or a seasonal spiced beverage like Woodstock Station’s Autumn Brew Ale, with hints of apple and cinnamon.
So, rather than taking our word for what beer is best, get out there and try these brews for yourself. You’ll find the settings vary almost as much as the beer offerings, from urban to rolling country, seaside to hillside. The following is a sampling of regional festivals scheduled after Labor Day. All offer dozens of beers to quaff (in moderation, of course), while many also benefit worthwhile causes. What could be better?