Five fall beer picks from North Fork breweries

Jamesport Farm Brewery is serving up a pumpkin and yam beer. (Credit: David Benthal)

The seasons are changing and craft beer, ever versatile, is shifting gears to match.

As the warm, hazy days of summer cool and shorten, the light, bright brews of backyard cookouts and ballgames yield to more malt-forward libations that showcase the flavors of fall.

Luckily, the North Fork is home to several craft breweries that offer autumn flavors by the pint. Here’s a fall beer pick for five of them.

Pumpkin Ale

Long Ireland Beer Co., Riverhead

Real pumpkin is used to infuse the beer with a redolent pumpkin aroma. Prevalent in the nose, the taste is more subdued in each sip and melds well with the classic “sugar rim.” Specialty malts lend a caramel note. Very light in the mouth, at 5% ABV you’ll be able to quaff a few while carving jack-o’-lanterns with the kids and not risk losing a fingertip.

PSL (Pumpkin Spiced Lager)

Moustache Brewing Co., Riverhead
A Vienna-style lager, PSL pours amber. Malty and smooth, it’s loaded with lots of toasty, roasted notes from the spices everyone comes to expect from a pumpkin pie. Expect cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and hints of ginger. Pair it with an actual pumpkin pie and see for yourself.

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Double Duck

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Greenport and Peconic

A beefy, 9.8% ABV version of their Black Duck Porter (nearly double the potency), Double Duck is aged in Basil Hayden and Woodford Reserve whiskey barrels, blending the traditional porter’s flavors of cocoa, coffee and cola with a woody booziness. This promises to be a tasty sipper calling for an evening by the firepit and choice cigars.

Sugar Skull

Jamesport Farm Brewery, Jamesport

This is an easy drinking 4.7% ABV pumpkin and yam beer. As a beer geek you may eschew the cinnamon sugar rim treatment but get it, just this once, to herald in the autumn season.

Butternut the Hutt

North Fork Brewing Co., Riverhead

Moving away from a traditional pumpkin ale, BtH is made from local butternut squash baked with brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice, which is added to the mash (that soupy cauldron of goodness that yeast will ferment to make beer).