The wizardry of Firestone Walker's newest beer – The Mercury News

You know fall has arrived when pumpkin beer begins appearing on store shelves. If you love pumpkins, that will be great news — if not, give them a try anyway. How better to celebrate Halloween, the biggest keg weekend of the year, than with a beer that tastes like liquid pumpkin pie?

Here’s what else to look for:

New brews: As the weather changes, breweries begin releasing heftier beers, often with big flavors to complement autumn’s cooler temperatures. A fun one is the newest Lagunitas entry in its One-Hitter series: Willetized Coffee Stout, a coffee stout aged in Willet rye whiskey barrels. Also still available: The Eroica Ale, another One-Hitter, which starts with a traditional Flemish farmouse ale, ages it in oak wine barrels, then adds brettanomyces yeast to funkify it. It’s a sour saison — sort of. Whatever you call it, it’s worth drinking.

Meanwhile Firestone Walker Brewing is releasing Mocha Merlin, a variation on the brewery’s Velvet Merlin. The new beer is brewed with a Colombia La Granadilla coffee blend from San Luis Obispo’s HoneyCo Coffee Roasters and cacoa nibs from Ghana. The brewery also recently released its Luponic Distortion 007, the latest in its experimental, rotating-hop series. This beer, available in 16-ounce cans, uses three kinds of hops from Australia.

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Fresh-hop beer is typically only served on tap, but Sierra Nevada is releasing fresh-hop beer in cans this fall. Sierra Nevada Brewing

Wet hops: Autumn is also a season for fresh or wet hop beer, brewed with hops taken from bine to kettle, without being processed or dried first. Fresh hop beers are typically only available on draft, but Sierra Nevada Brewing has just released a mixed four-pack of fresh hop beers in cans that includes Fresh Hop IPA, Fresh Hop Double

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