While we've been blessed with a brief respite of Indian summer (and the sun is shining gloriously as we type this), it can't be denied that autumn is well and truly upon us. The barbecue is about to be packed away, the slow cooker has been dusted off from its summer slumber and - perhaps best of all - it's time to indulge in the delights of autumnal beers.
We've had a great time reacquainting ourselves with the glorious nutty, malty beers that are often overlooked in this world of hop-forward IPAs and wacky sours, as well as discovering the best of the new-season offerings. We (well, Glenn) have also spent a bit of time in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and matching these beers to a host of hearty dishes that signal the move to the cooler months.
Here are a few of the autumnal beer and food matches we've enjoyed the most.
AleSmith Anvil ESB with Spiced Duck & Date Tagine
We feel a bit guilty plugging this beer as there's only one left in store (in our Bin Ends Box) but we loved it so much that it felt wrong to leave it out. Anvil ESB is an American brewery's take on an English style with English hops, but don't let that put you off. Big caramel and nutty flavours make this beer the perfect match for food, so we put it with a Moroccan-style duck and it knocked our socks off. You can find the recipe here, we got the duck from our friends at Flock & Herd and the dates, spices and preserved lemon from Khan's Bargain Store, Rye Lane's very own shop of dreams.
Beavertown Stingy Jack with Jamie Oliver's pumpkin chickpea curry
Beavertown's 2015 pumpkin ale is possibly the best pumpkin beer we've ever had. Smooth as you like, gentle spices that conjure up the most festive of autumn flavours... It's a pure delight to drink and conveniently arrived on the same day that Glenn decided to use up the pumpkin sitting in our vege bin in a subtly spiced curry. It's not rocket science to match pumpkin with pumpkin, but this worked a treat. We can only imagine what it would be like with a roast and caramelised vegetables.
Howling Hops Running Beer
This is such a delicious beer - probably our favourite from the Howling Hops range right now, and believe us when we say it has stiff competition. A brown ale hopped with Citra, Chinook and Centennial, there's something wonderfully light and delicate about it. We didn't drink it with food, instead simply enjoying it with friends on the tables outside the shop one recent evening, but this is such a food-friendly style, you could just about match it with anything and it would work.
Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen with Nigel Slater's slow-cooked sausages
We drank this malty, German-style lager with a improvised variation on Nigel Slater's slow-cooked sausage recipe and it was the bomb. German-style beer + German-style food = no-brainer Oktoberfest goodness. This would also go brilliantly with some subtle, nutty hard cheese.
Brewdog Candy Kaiser with Steve's roast pork
The heavy toffee notes in this seasonal altbier from Brewdog make for a terrific pairing with pork. We tried to recreate the amazing roast pork our friend Steve made when he stayed with us recently - a top-quality joint from Flock & Herd with a heap of fennel and caramelised onions, and spiced apple sauce on the side. Ours wasn't quite up to his standards, but Steve is the roast king and we bow down to his greatness. Regardless, Candy Kaiser made for a fine match.