Greetings to you all as daylight saving time is going to “fall back." It is time for logs in the fireplace, a few more bike rides, outdoor football and hockey very soon. Speaking of outdoor sports, congratulations to the Proctor and Cloquet-Esko-Carlton squads for making the Class A and Class AA Minnesota state soccer tournament. The Duluth East boys squad will play Moorhead on Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Class AAA state soccer tournament, a guarantee that a northern team will advance to next week’s semifinals and beyond.

I usually write a holiday beer column, but with this year being hopefully a bit more normal for folks to get together, I thought we should highlight some great beers for colder temperatures before we hit the holidays.

The fall season brings the harvest and a great variety of ingredients that brewers use to make beer. The stars are apples and pumpkins and soon, spiced holiday beers. Both fruits will be widely featured in beers we will see in the next weeks. I am a huge fan of apple beers. They are a great cross between cider — crisp and fruity — and beer that tastes like apple pie and pie crust, with round sweet flavors. These beers are about balance.

Brewers constantly strive to provide a nice balance in their beers, between the sweet notes of malt (barley, wheat, oats, rye, etc.), fruits and other fun ingredients, and of course, hops, which are more bitter and add many notes like lemon, grass, citrus and straw. As brewers, we get to weigh flavors against each other to provide harmony, just like the change of seasons we are about to experience. Balance is the goal.

We will also see some more robust beers returning to shelves and taprooms.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

MORE BY DAVE HOOPS:

Assertive styles in the lager category include bock, doppelbock, eisbock, Euro strong lager, imperial Pilsner, Baltic porter and malt liquor.

And some strong selections from the ale family are: Belgian triple, grand cru and golden strong, weizenbock, old ale, strong ale, wee heavy, Russian imperial stout, barleywine, wheatwine, triple and quad India pale ale, imperial porter and honey beer.

In the Twin Ports, we have 12 breweries with some more on the way, and many of us have struggled during the pandemic, but remained committed to keep on keeping on with great beer and even greater support from many of you reading this column. I speak for all when I say thank-you — we could not have made it without you.

I moved back to Duluth 22 years ago from San Francisco. The mean temperature there was about 66 degrees, and seasonal transitions there are barely discernible. Here in Duluth, seasons rule our livelihood and lifestyles. We get the full four seasons, and each comes at us with a bang. Changes of wardrobe, mentality, activities and optimism with the vaccines and fewer cases out there, certainly make me hopeful for a return to normalcy soon. It’s great to see the Bulldog hockey teams starting out well and Bentleyville making a return. Fun stuff.

Fall is the time to fire up the outdoor firepit, take long walks in the woods with or without your dog, open the windows at night and snuggle up under the covers, cook, read a book, get ready for Halloween this week. At my house, we hope to see kids costumed up and collecting bounties of treats. I’ve always considered Halloween the gateway to the holidays. Things might look a bit different this fall, but I suspect and hope that family and holiday gatherings will be at a higher level this year, something we can be thankful for.

So, welcome to fall, my thoughts are positive and with all of you readers from the Farmers' Almanac:

“Autumn days come quickly, like the running of a hound on the moor.” — Irish proverb

Please feel free to email fall thoughts and, of course, beer thoughts. My best regards to you all.

Dave Hoops lives and works in Duluth and is a veteran brewer and beer judge. Write to him at dave@hoopsbrewing.com.