Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Can you feel fall in the air? I sure can. One thing I love about living in Charlotte is getting to experience all four seasons. Fall is especially welcoming with its colors and temperature change along with seasonal tastes and aromas.
Temperatures are already cooling off and leaves will soon change colors and literally fall. In some more northern climates they are already doing so and thus, fall foliage is in full season!
What do you enjoy most about this beautifully colorful season? If you've been lucky enough to spend time in here in Charlotte or the mountains of North Carolina, parts of Georgia & Virginia or even further north, you know what I'm talking about. The scenery and sensations are spectacular. Recently, a friend visited Vermont taking a gondola and hot air balloon ride to enjoy some of the colors there. Have you ever taken a hot air balloon ride?
As autumn arrives, my hubby and I enjoy seasonal, craft beers and they have us falling for flavors like; Sam Adams, Oktoberfest with its delicious lightly nutty and caramel notes. I've always loved both of those flavors and their recipe has a perfect blend and is not too sweet. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery's Mecktoberfest is another fave and similarly it's a malty brew with some nutty notes. More recently we tried a tasty, seasonal brown ale from Highland Brewing Co. called Clawhammer Oktoberfest. I think this one tops the charts this season. Another marzen, its color is a very pretty, burnt orange, and while the taste is similar, it has slight differences that really make it deliciously toasty with a spicy & sweet taste combination. While we don't really drink weekly during the year, fall weekends tend to have more happy hour fun with all of these season craft beer options.
I recently hopped onto an Instagram LIVE with one of the team members of Heist Brewery in Charlotte who was talking about a brown ale they featured. Browns are craft brew we love including nut brown ales, stouts, ambers, and porters. It's fun to try the seasonal beers and enjoy lots of flavors that are mostly featured this time of year. Some of them even taste like coffee/chocolate.
We weren't always adventurous when it came to tastes in beer. Like many, we were light beer drinkers and mostly American brands. I was once a fan of Killian's Red, brewed by Molson, but that did not really lead much further. In my experience, American beers did not really offer flavor varieties until the more recent popularity of seltzers and citrus flavored light beers of which I'm not as much of a fan.
When craft beer became popular, we learned more about the brewing process and visited Hershey, PA and Troeg's Brewery. Visiting Hershey provided me most of a business opportunity to see what types of branded merch and apparel they sell in gift shops, attractions, and bakeries at the Hershey attractions. At Troegs they offer tours, have a restaurant, and a gift shop for retail beer sales, glassware, growlers, coasters, stickers, t-shirts and packaging. This was a great way to explore ideas for client companies and events. The remainder of the the trip was leisure and with our two kiddos in tow, we probably rode the Hershey Museum ride a dozen times. The smell of chocolate throughout the building was yummy and of course we had to design, pour, manufacturer, and decorate our very own giant sized Hershey's chocolate bar!
As for the Troeg's Brewery part of the trip, we met up with friends from Charlotte who had visited previously. This helped, because our friend is a home brewer and knows a great deal about how craft beer flavoring works and was a great personal guide to helping us discover our likes and dislikes. One of the brewery's signature beers is called Troegenator and has a very high alcohol content yet tastes great, and is loaded with flavors from chocolate notes, caramel, malt, toffee and more. Their holiday brew, Mad Elf, takes kind of fun and funny spin on name and flavors to include chocolate, cherries and a spicy kick. It reminds me of my Dad's favorite Christmas candy, chocolate covered cherry cordials. Good memories but, I can't take too much of this one because of its strongly unique flavor. We do enjoy spotting it on occasion at Total Wine and may pick up a six pack to enjoy and remember the great trip to Hershey, PA.
Darker stouts, porters, and brown ales as not only seasonal but we do tend to enjoy them more when the weather gets cooler. The absolute best brown we've had is Damn Good Brown Porter at Wilmington Brewery in NC. We found this one while on a couples weekend retreat at Kure Beach called "Good News & Good Brews" where we shared faith stories and worship by day and visited area breweries in the evenings for tastings, meals, and fellowship. If you've not done something like this, it's really fun. I'd love to do it again sometime or even a different variation but really enjoyed the connections we made over the weekend. There are a couple of other brown beers definitely worth mentioning: Natty Greene's Old Town Brown Ale and Green Man Porter from Asheville, NC. We're checking calendars now to decide when we can take a weekend and visit a few of these favorites in Asheville before the leaves finish showing their colors for the season. Wanna join us? Let me know!
Fall is equally fabulous for the non-alcohol based beverage choices. Hot apple cider or mulled cider are so aromatic and delicious. Feel like cozying up with a book or having some fireplace time? How about a chai tea or vanilla latte? Pumpkin and vanilla are two of my favorite scents and fall is full of them. In fact, these two can take you from fall thru Christmas with some delicious recipes.
Many seasonal treats include these, along with the natural and artificial flavors of pumpkin spice. Starbucks pumpkin scone that is sooo good. It's moist, dense, and sweet but never too much to ruin the flavor of a caramel macchiato or caramel brûlée latte. They drizzle the top of the pumpkin scone with a cream cheese frosting and there you go...mmmmmm good. The artificial pumpkin spice flavor comes from a variety of chemicals and artificial flavors that are designed to replicate flavors like clove, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin.
The holiday journey for some folks starts with the change of seasons, enjoying fall leaves and the color changes that come just before the falling of leaves. Fall Festivals, state fairs, corn mazes, and hayrides, or even a weekend getaway to the mountains or Historic Williamsburg, VA which we enjoyed later last fall, are all places that you can find some of these seasonal delights. Are you smelling pumpkin spice or hot cocoa yet?
As I put this article together, I discovered this interesting video shared now from our Pinterest Board. It is originally from the Institute of Food & Technology or IFT and explains more about about the flavors and chemistry of pumpkin spice and how they are formulated and interpreted by the brain. So many delicious holiday and seasonal treats are marketed under the pumpkin spice umbrella. Whether you're reading this article or watching the educational video, think about what flavored treats including pumpkin spice, chai, and other fall flavored foods, beverages, and experiences you enjoy each year. What are some of your favorites? Are you also falling for flavor this fall?
looking for some tasty new Fall recipes or a map of foliage features as well as more on the science of fall colors and why leaves change color? Visit this link https://bit.ly/foodandfoliage
Favorites this season for promotional products include: campfire mugs and insulated tumblers, custom pint glasses used by restaurants, breweries, clubs, businesses, or for outdoor and team building events, and coozies, which come in 12oz, tall boy, craft beer, and slim can or seltzer size and are great for golf tournaments or really, all year long.
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