There's no escaping the supremacy of pumpkin beer when fall weather hits.
But this year, some craft beer aficionados say there are emerging trends that may be finally cracking the orange gourd's domination of the season.
"For good or for bad, pumpkin is here to stay," said Jim McCune, who has been involved with the craft brewing industry for 18 years and even sketched the Blue Point Brewing Co.'s original logo on a cocktail napkin.
Andrew Reed, of Manhattan Beer Distributors, agrees that pumpkin is still dominant. "It's very hard to sell a fall seasonal that's not a pumpkin."
But McCune, who is the executive director of the craft beverage division of ECG Group in Melville, said there are two other trends to look out for this season: sour and smoked beers.
Sour beers, explained McCune in an email, trace their lineage to a European form of brewing established in the early 1800s. Smoked beers also date back centuries, and involve adding a smoking agent to the liquid or using different types of wood to dry malted barley over heat.
These trends, McCune said, reflect the explosion of ideas among craft brewers. "I just can't believe the amount of creativity and science that is going into everything," he said.
Here are seven beers selected by Reed and McCune for your fall enjoyment.
Southern Tier's Pumking
Crooked Ladder Brewing Co.'s 'Outta My Vine'
Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale