Fall is a great season for beer, and a lot of good seasonal beers have hit the taps and shelves over the past couple of weeks.

SEBAGO’S LOCAL HARVEST ALE, one of my favorite beers from last year, came out last Friday, and I stopped by Sebago’s Portland brew pub after work to try it out.

This beer is brewed with two-row barley grown in Aroostook County and with hops grown at Irish Hill Farms in Monroe and at various local gardens.

It poured dark red, with a long-lasting but reasonably short head. The aroma was nicely hoppy because it is hopped in the mash, in the kettle, steeped and dry-hopped. But still, this is a well-balanced, excellent beer, coming in at 6.8 percent alcohol.

Last year, I bought a case of this beer and took it on a fishing trip. I felt guilty the whole time — well maybe not that guilty — drinking it out of the bottle.

The beer will be available at all Sebago brew pubs, at other bars in the area and in four-packs at Shaw’s, Hannaford and specialty beer stores.


It’s supposed to be available through November. As I recall, it sold out quickly last year, so get yours early. Our Natural Foodie columnist, Avery Yale Kamila, wrote about some extreme locavores who had to give up beer and switch to wine once their Local Harvest Ale ran out. Don’t let that happen to you.

While testing the Local Harvest, I noticed that they had Hoppy Homunculus, a West Coast IPA and one of their single-batch beers on tap. Because I was going out, I asked for a small taste. This is also an excellent beer, but even heavier on the hops that the Local Harvest.

This is a beer I could drink only one at a time, while the Local Harvest I could — and did — spend an evening drinking.

I KNEW THAT GEARY’S was going to be bringing out its Hudson Red Ale as part of its 25th anniversary series, and as soon as I heard it had been released, I stopped off at Dock Fore in the Old Port after work and had a pint. Because it was Tuesday, it cost only $1.99, which was an absolute bargain.

When David Geary told me about the beer about a month ago, he said that brewer Larry Hudson is not a big fan of hops. Still, this is a wonderfully balanced beer: malty but not overly sweet, an Irish-style red ale that comes in at 4.8 percent alcohol.

This is a beer that goes well with food, and is easy-drinking enough that a person could have several of them in an evening.


Geary also has released its Autumn Ale. This is darker, maltier and sweeter than the Hudson Red, but still light on hops. It is rich, with a lot of caramel flavor, and is a beer you can relax with.

PEAK ORGANIC’S Summit Fall Ale is another good-tasting fall beer. I bought a six-pack at the supermarket, and have been drinking one an evening while watching the Red Sox implode. The beer was definitely the best part of the night.

Made with Summit hops, it has a good hoppy flavor, but still has a lot of malt to offset it. It has 5.8 percent alcohol.

GRITTY’S should really change the name of its Halloween Ale.

We had company coming through for Labor Day weekend, so we bought a six-pack of Halloween to serve the guests.

Several people asked, “Does it have pumpkin?” or something similar before I opened it.


No, this is an extra special bitter that is bold, malty and robust. It is straight-forward and flavorful.

WHAT CAN I SAY? Fall is so short, and there are so many good beers to try. I’d better stop writing and get busy tasting.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at:

[email protected]


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