More Fall Brews 

The weather is just starting to turn cool, we are only a few weeks into autumn, and while the holidays are on the horizon, we still haven't hit Halloween yet. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure Bogus hasn't opened, so it seems a bit premature to be offering winter brews. But in that market frenzy that loves to push everything forward, several have already arrived in Boise. Count me out for now—I'll stick with the seasonally appropriate category. Here are a few of the latest fall offerings:

Deschutes Hop Trip Ale

I'm a big fan of Hales O'Brien's Harvest Ale, flavored with fresh hops from Central Washington. Deschutes' take on the style uses just-picked Crystal hops trucked in from Oregon's Willamette Valley. The resulting brew is even more floral than the heady Hales, with very smooth, citrusy hops. The malt is creamy and has just the right level of sweetness, making for an exceptionally well-balanced and lively ale. The floral quality of the hops really comes through on the oh-so-smooth finish. Delicious.

Full Sail Vesuvius

This fall release is Full Sail's interpretation of a Belgian golden ale. The aromatics are appropriately subtle yet complex, dominated by spicy hops and backed by a nice earthiness with a touch of fresh yeast. On the palate, you get rich, fruity malt flavors nicely balanced by light but persistent Saaz hops. Spicy orange comes through on the finish that offers a pleasant bit of warmth (8.5 percent alcohol—drink judiciously).

Alaskan Smoked Porter

I'm guessing that the first smoked beers came from a futile attempt to salvage something from a brewery fire. Or maybe someone just missed that combo of flavors they got from drinking a Bud while standing downwind from a campfire. If you guessed I'm not a fan of the style, you're right. That said, Alaskan's Smoked Porter is remarkably good. It's not overblown, the sweet malt and lightly bitter hops meld beautifully, and the smokiness is well integrated. This beer gets better with each sip and goes down nicely with food.

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