Eat and Drink Fall beers 2015: Craft brews from Shipyard Brewing, Captain Lawrence and others By CRISTIAN SALAZAR firstname.lastname@example.org Updated September 29, 2015 2:03 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email 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 Photo Credit: Southern Tier Brewing Co. McCune calls Southern Tier Brewing Co.'s Pumking a "fan-favorite" that pairs well with holiday desserts. The upstate Lakewood-based brewery on Chautauqua Lake plays up a very seasonal Halloween theme with this brew. Crooked Ladder Brewing Co.'s 'Outta My Vine' Photo Credit: Crooked Ladder Brewing McCune also recommends the pumpkin ale produced by Crooked Ladder Brewing Co., of Riverhead. Called Outta My Vine, each pint is served with the rim coated with a sugar-cinnamon mix. McCune writes that it "explodes the pumpkin flavor and aroma of the beer with every sip." Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale Photo Credit: Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.'s Pumpkin Ale also made it to our 2014 list. The Elmsford-based brewery in Westchester County added pureed pumpkin directly to the mash as they are steeping the malt, and then pumpkin spice at the end of the boil, Reed says. The result is a 5 percent smooth, drinkable beer that has a lighter side. "It's kind of a pumpkin beer for those who don't like pumpkin," Reed said in 2014. Captain Lawrence Hudson Valley Harvest Sours Photo Credit: Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. Yes, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. gets a second mention on this list, this time for a new line of sour beers being released in October called Hudson Valley Harvest Sours. McCune sees the sour category as growing in popularity this season. "They're brewed using a European form of brewing established in the early 1800s," he writes. Reed isn't so sure, but says Captain Lawrence has been making small batches of sours, which were traded like fine wines for a while. But the company recently got a new bottler to help mass produce the beers. "That's a really exciting thing in the market for us," Reed says. Blind Bat Vlad the Inhaler Photo Credit: Blind Bat Brewery As an example of the trend toward smoked beers, McCune highlights Blind Bat Brewery of Centerport. One of Long Island's newest microbreweries, established in 2008, it emphasizes wood-smoked beers in its line, along with Halloween-friendly names like Hellsmoke Porter (over alder and apple wood) and Vlad the Inhaler (over oak). 1911 Spirits Pumpkin Hard Cider Photo Credit: Twitter / Stephanie Pagano Beak & Skiff is an apple orchard in upstate LaFayette that has roots tracing back to 1911. Though the Onondaga County brewers have long produced nonalcoholic apple cider from hand-picked fruit, it wasn't until 2001 that they branched out into hard cider. Now sold under the 1911 Spirits label, their ciders have grown in recognition. This year, according to Reed, they've introduced a sparkling pumpkin hard cider fermented with pumpkin puree in French oak barrels. Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale Photo Credit: Shipyard Brewing Co. Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale remains one of the best-selling pumpkin beers in the country, produced by Shipyard Brewing Co. of Portland, Maine. Pumpkinhead Ale is a 4.5 percent ABV wheat-based brew, and the lack of malt flavor pumps up the pumpkin and spice. By CRISTIAN SALAZAR email@example.com Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.