As temperatures (finally) begin to drop, it's time to give up those pale ales and pilsners in favor of darker ales and porters. Broken down by style and flavor, here are our favorite cool-weather brews from Austin, best enjoyed cold.
Hoppy red ale
The ABGB's Big Mamma Red
Red ales tend to have a balanced profile with a slight preference towards malts. That being said, the Big Mamma Red is very hoppy with a mild bitterness that tames its fruitier accents. This ABGB mainstay is a great way to ease into the darker beer season.
Thirsty Planet's Thirsty Goat
Like most amber ales, the Thirsty Goat has a deep, malty flavor with both spicy and sweet after notes. Despite its darker nature, this beer is easy to drink and is another great segue into more robust brews.
Adelbert's Tripel B
One of the most decorated beers in the Adelbert's Brewery lineup, the Tripel B is malty and peppery, with hints of caramel, clove, and pear. Tripel is a strong ale and, like IPAs, can attract a stalwart fan. However, the Tripel B is very accessible and provides effortless enjoyment.
Black Star Co-op's Double Dee
The Double Dee is a toasty, caramel concoction so smooth it's almost sinful. There's currently only one keg available of the barrel-aged vanilla version, which is a must for those who enjoy sweet brews, but the standard Double Dee is just as tasty.
Black Star cold-weather honorable mention: The chocolaty, coffee-y Recalcitrant Dockhand porter.
Texas Keeper Cider's Heirloom
As a fermented apple beverage, cider constitutes as a cold-weather brew even though it's not technically a beer. While most ciders are reminiscent of warmer days, Heirloom offers a Champagne-like experience that blends three types of apples into a crisp beverage with hints of darker spices — excellent for those brisk fall evenings.
Meridian Hive Meadery's Huajilla
Mead isn't just for the renaissance festival. This cider-like drink is made from fermented honey, so its natural sweetness is a cozy fit for autumn. Our local meadery's Huajilla has a touch of both citrus and spice and claims to be the "perfect mead for a cool fall afternoon."
Strange Land Brewery's Atholl Brose
Get your fix of scotch whiskey without having to pull out the hard liquor with this full-bodied scotch ale. In addition to the scotch infusion (which brings the ABV up to 8.9 percent), Atholl Brose features earthy, oak, and honey flavors.
Austin Beerworks' Black Thunder
"If a stout and a pilsner had a love child, it would be Black Thunder," reads the description of this popular Austin Beerworks brew. Black Thunder is a year-round beer that lends itself to cooler temperatures with a roasted undertone and clean finish.
Independence Brewing Co.'s Reaper Madness
IPAs can be polarizing: You either love the hops, or hate 'em. Independence's seasonal black IPA will satisfy your hops craving while also giving you something bold to sip on during colder weather.
Rogness Brewing Company's Holiday
As the name implies, this holiday-inspired ale is only available during the winter months. The beer models its flavor profile off of an oatmeal raisin cookie with classic spices like cinnamon and brown sugar.
Rogness cold-weather honorable mention: The Yogi chai-spiced amber ale.
(512) Brewing Company's Pecan Porter
Modern-day porters are typically darker, malt-heavy beers, and this Austin staple is brewed with chocolate malts and locally grown pecans. The Pecan Porter is already pretty creamy, but the nitro version — which is carbonated with nitrogen rather than carbon dioxide — provides an even smoother drink.
Jester King Brewery's Black Metal
Stouts are extremely similar to porters (watch this hilarious Alamo Drafthouse video to understand the difference). Jester King may be the champion of farmhouse ales, but the brewery does its Black Metal stout justice with black malts and hints of roasted coffee and chocolate.