If you’re like me, then you’re probably excited for this fall season not only because of cooler weather and awesome holidays, but also slews of new craft beers. Forget the Pumpkin Spice Latte, these drinks pack in a more refined flavor and are ripe for the tasting!
Best Places for Craft Beer Around Rome
In Rome, if you want to see what’s new on the market and have a good selection, then you’ll have to visit these local restaurants.
Starting at Brewhouse Music & Grill, you’ll find all the great aspects of a popular sports bar. With great food and great drinks on tap, there’s no wrong decision no matter what you get. Recently, owner Jay Shell, has started a new direction for the Brewhouse, building his own small batch brewery in the back space. You can expect him be serving up some awesome craft beers you’ll only find here in Rome. His Clocktower IPA, named after the town’s icon, is a must try. The IPA boasts a good flavor that strikes a pleasant balance and is the great for the transition of seasons, not to mention it pairs well with just all of his burgers. Also available, will be the Short Hot Blonde Ale, Broad Street Wheat and Downtown Brown Ale!
At Mellow Mushroom, you have a decent collection of all the domestics, but they also have a good amount of craft beers on tap and some great concoctions where two or three drinks are mixed together for a unique experience. My personal favorite will always be a Snakebite, (half Angry Orchard Green Apple, half Left Hand Milk Stout, and tastes like a chocolate covered apple) always a great accompaniment to your pizza of choice.
Across the street, at Crawdaddy’s, you can find a full selection of Abita brews and sodas, keeping in with the Cajun and Creole cuisine and atmosphere. If you love some good Louisiana cooking, and would knock back a Purple Haze or classic root beer
If you take a short walk next door, you’ll find Dark Side of the Moon, a great bar that serves up great food, good drinks and even better cocktails. While you’re out mingling or playing cornhole, check out their provisional menu, which carries over from Harvest Moon Cafe. As pictured above, Dark Side features 12 rotating drafts that you can sample before you buy. Here, you’ll find plenty of the seasonal brews that become popular at this point in the year, such as Oktoberfests, Pumpkins, Porters and more. One of my personal favorites pictured, is Victory Brewing’s 20th Anniversary Experimental IPA, where you’ll be met with complex aromas of melon, pine, green grass, and citrus rind mingle in this crystal clear, blonde ale. Flavors of mango and cantaloupe mix with a touch of malty sweetness, followed by a pleasantly bitter, crisp finish that rounds out this hoppy brew. Another draft pick would be Burnt Hickory’s Die Kreuzen Imperial Pumpkin Porter out of Kennesaw, Ga. This seasonal porter pours a dark brown color with a big tan head accompanied with aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, and has a medium body. All in all, this makes for a nice start to the fall.
Making your way downtown, walking fast, you’ll end up at the River Dog Outpost, a fun beer garden that sits alongside the river and features food from one of Rome’s local food trucks each night. They serve Sweetwater Brewing beers on draft, but also have more than 40 other options for those not so hooked on the Sweetwater. But regardless of which side of the current you swim on, you should definitely try their Dank Tank Series: Smokey and the Brett. It looks like your average IPA, with a golden amber color, two finger thick head, and clear body. The aroma, however, is wild. Other than that, there’s a decent hop presence, but not typical of your standard IPA. The brett is front and center, with a tart, funky, rustic taste that was totally fabulous. The hops provided a fruity citrus backbone, and the malt was unobtrusive. Light in the mouth and very drinkable. Fantastic all around.
Now onto the moment some of you have been waiting for.
Brews Worth Looking For
These brews are some up-and-coming that are pretty much guaranteed to shake up the market. Your best bet to find these in Rome would be to head on over to Rome Liquor and Tobacco on E. 2nd Ave., or at Dark Side. If you don’t see them, don’t fret, at both you can easily request a certain brew for them to look into and get from distributors, making the perfect way to try brews outside your circle.
That being said, here are some of my personal recommendations for beer connoisseurs to try this season!
Blackberry Farm Brewery – Fall Saison
Blackberry Farm Brewery’s Fall Saison puts a spin on harvest ales while still celebrating the fall harvest tradition. The farmhouse ale is crafted with spelt, rye and oats for a smooth, silky body, rich copper color, and notes of earthy spice. Perfect for the transition, this brew goes well with most flavors.
Green Man Brewery – Harvester
Harvester is our interpretation of the classic German Marzen style. Magnum and Palisade highlight a creative hop blend. The result is a deep amber color and a hearty flavor that salutes the old world taste of the season.
Birdsong Brewing – Wake Up Porter
Brewed with Sumatra Lintong coffee from Charlotte’s Central Coffee, an addition of Madagascar vanilla beans adds sweetness for what the brewery describes as a velvety smooth experience. Perfect as a dessert beer or even paired with a slice of creamy cheesecake or a decadent mousse.
Victory Brewing – Feistbier
This beer has a little more backbone than others; the smooth caramel, orange, and chestnut flavors are balanced by crispness and brightness. It all wraps up in a totally dry, clean finish; there’s a hint of bitter hops and very little sweetness by the time you swallow. Drink it with pizza, or lighter proteins straight from the grill: Smoky salmon, pork, or chicken are all prime choices.
Sierra Nevada Brewing – Oktoberfest
If you’re a fan of Sierra’s classic hoppy pale ale, you’ll like this bitter take on a traditional Oktoberfest. Made in partnership with Mahrs Brau, the beer is more golden than copper, and it’s amply hopped with Record hops from Germany. It has a lemony, almost mustardy character that makes it refreshing—and perfectly paired with a big tray of fresh, doughy pretzels.
Smuttynose Brewing – Oktoberfest Lager
This lager from New Hampshire balances the two sides of marzen perfectly: It’s pretzel-doughy, toasty, and warm-spiced, but not too sweet, leaving you crisp and clean, with an earthy hop finish that hints at rosemary and sage. While many Oktoberfest beers are too heavy for a long session of drinking, this one is easy to sip all day long. Put on the game, order a pepperoni pizza or try your hand at make some chili dogs, gather a crowd, and make sure you bought an extra sixpack.