While pumpkin beers might rule the taps in fall, there’s a more subtly seasonal brew worth seeking out: sage beer. A classic brewing ingredient during the Middle Ages, sage was used then for its purported medicinal qualities. Now modern-day brewers like the herb for its potent, earthy aroma and flavor that enhances, rather than masks, the flavors of malt and hops, as well as the herb’s food-friendliness.
Here, four sage beers to try this fall.
Deschutes and Harpoon: EHOP
A collaboration between Oregon’s Deschutes and New England’s Harpoon, EHOP celebrates both breweries’ participation in the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Brewers Ryan Schmiege of Deschutes and Ethan Elston of Harpoon decided on the recipe together. They opted to make an amber ale as an homage to the early craft beer movement when ambers were king and decided to brew with sage (fresh in Harpoon’s case, dried for the Deschutes version) and thyme to represent their respective areas’ local ingredients. Also included: employee-grown hops. Two versions of the beer (one brewed at Deschutes, the other at Harpoon) will be available at the end of September.