New Zealand is an excellent country year-round, but it is especially lovely in Autumn. The crisp, cold water is deep blue and inviting. The leaves make their yearly change from green to auburn to gold, coating the rolling mountains in a wave of spectacular colours. Autumn is also a wonderful time to test out some new beers to pair perfectly with the crisp weather. Just as with food, the changing of the seasons brings with it new flavours to enjoy while they last.

Embracing the Dark Side

Over summer, the light, golden ales reign supreme—many drinkers tend to opt for a crisp lager, the bite of a pilsner, or even the light sweetness of a cider. The weather is hot, and light beers are the perfect thing to cool you down on a sweltering, sunny day.

As the weather gets cooler, all of this changes, and many breweries know it. Seasonal beers will start to appear and take on a different colour. All NZ beer is great, but the right beer in the right season is a different story altogether. There are a few classic beers that are perfect for the cooler weather ahead:

  • Amber Ales and Lagers: The colour itself will perfectly match the changing leaves with its beautiful, deep ruby hue. Amber ales are malty and mildly sweet, as many ambers tend to have notes of caramel and lightly toasted malt. It is a perfectly balanced, medium-bodied beer that is not too light or dark. Amber ales are very similar, but due to brewing lagers at a cold temperature, these tend to be a bit crisper in flavour.
  • Brown Ales: Brown ales are another excellent Autumn addition to your beer list. Brown ales are darker in appearance than ambers, due mainly to the malt being roasted longer, resulting in a richer finish. These vary from medium to heavy-bodied and generally use flavours like caramel, chocolate, raisins, or even nuts.
  • Porters or Stouts: Porters and stouts are very similar, and actually started as the same beer, with slight differences. Both are noticeably darker than most beers. Stouts tend to be full-bodied with notes of coffee or chocolate, very roasted, and will have a creamy mouthfeel. Porters are malty and dark but may vary in their flavour profiles.

Autumn is a great time to break away from the typical beers and venture out towards something different. The cooler weather is great for darker ales to help warm you up from the inside.