The temperatures are dropping a little and the leaves will soon be falling to the ground. It’s fall in the South and it’s the perfect time to try a seasonal beer while watching a football game or doing some yard work. Kit Lewis, the beverage manager at one of the best Mexican restaurants in Atlanta (The Original El Taco and the entire Fifth Group of Restaurants) was kind enough to give us his picks for some great fall beers to sample in the coming months.

Kit Lewis
The Original El Taco
1186 N. Highland Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 873-4656
www.eltaco-atlanta.com

Lewis has been in the industry for over 10 years, starting as a bartender before moving up to beverage manger. Lewis knows his beers. He calls himself a “beer fanatic” but not a “beer snob.”

“I’m not sure where my love of beer came from,” explains Lewis. “I drank whatever was available and always enjoyed learning the ways beers can be paired to meals and the season of the year.”

Lewis’ father was a beer fanatic as well and the Atlantan of 16 years looks back fondly on the times when he and and his father made some home brew. Here are his picks for some great fall beers this season.

Highland Oatmeal Porter

This black and robust beer is perfect for the fall. Lewis says it drinks very smooth and is his “go to” beer for fall activities like football or raking leaves.

“You can drink this beer as you sit through all four quarters of a football game,” adds Lewis.

You might notice that Highland Oatmeal Porter has a hint of chocolate in the taste, but it’s well-balanced and “hoppy” at the same time.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

This coffee/chocolate/licorice-flavored variety is one of Lewis’ all-time favorites. Lewis says since this beer has a high alcohol content, you might just want to have one. As with many stouts, this Russian Imperial has a creamy and satisfying finish. This beer is great when paired with oysters.

Terrapin Wake N’ Bake

Lewis says this popular fall beer is “crazy delicious.” It’s black in color and gives a hint of an expresso taste, but not too much. In fact, the good folks over at Jittery Joe’s Coffee in Athens, GA supply the coffee beans used in this stout. It’s a great winter and fall beer, and if you have never tried a fall stout, you might want to start with Terrapin. This beer has won numerous tasting awards and it keeps well, so it will store in your cellar with ease.

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Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout

A fine craft beer from the Duck-Rabbit Brewery in North Carolina could be a hidden gem this fall for beer lovers. Lewis says this is a quality brewery and this particular beer is creamy and smooth. He says it pairs well with just about any meat and even goes well with comfort foods like a hearty beef stew. It’s a rustic beer that is great to drink outdoors or serve at room temperature. Lewis says you can’t go wrong with Duck-Rabbit.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Esquire Magazine calls this 90 Minute IPA, “perhaps the best IPA in America.” Lewis might agree with that. He also says it’s a great after-dinner beer since it is well-balanced and doesn’t crush your palate.

Lewis says that the 90 Minute IPA has a lot of malt in it and it just screams “fall!” This Dogfish Head variety pairs well with falls dishes like pork chops, grilled fish, soups and chili. If you haven’t tried a Dogfish Head beer, give 90 Minute a try this fall.

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Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer in Atlanta and he loves covering anything Falcons-related. His work can be found at Examiner.com.