Even though a good portion of the country is still experiencing hot, summer-like weather, the calendar has flipped to fall anyway. The leaves are turning and dropping (nearly exclusively in my gutters), and the smell of pumpkin spice lingers in the air. The changing of the seasons is maybe most evident on the shelves of my local beer store, with Oktoberfests, porters and, of course, pumpkin ales replacing the fruity, easy-drinking beers of summer.
While the Oktoberfests and pumpkin monstrosities garner most of seasonal beer drinkers’ attention, I’d nominate the humble porter as the best style of fall: enough flavor to satisfy in a session of one, but light enough to have a few if the day calls for it. (Don’t most days at this point?) One porter I keep finding in my curbside pickup orders is Crane Brewing’s Omar.
Based in the Kansas City suburb of Raytown, Missouri, Crane has found a place in my rotation of late, and Omar gave me no reason to stop now. It pours a deep, dark brown with a beautiful cap of light brown froth on top. As soon as the can is cracked, Omar reveals a roasty, robust aroma that is marked by sweetness, char and some light, fruity notes as well.
Omar is named after the brewer’s late cat, and the beer does its namesake justice with a warming, comforting combination of flavors. Each sip highlights a different taste in a beer that is very complex considering its imminent drinkability. Roasted coffee, toasted marshmallow, sweet honey, bitter chocolate, and maybe even a bit of estery cider take turns washing over my palate.
The best seasonal beers pair with the best moments of the season—for fall that’s tailgating, bonfires, hiking, and camping. I may be enjoying Omar on my couch in between household chores, but each sip foreshadows the fun fall times to come.