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Gastronomes are obsessed with pairing food and beverages. The pretense can often be tough to stomach — so that's why we decided to take the high, weird road by matching up some of our favorite autumnal beers with comparable Halloween costumes. Most all autumnal beer varieties fall into two categories: Oktoberfests, full-bodied dark ambers with dry, spicy finishes, and pumpkin ales, which are either brewed with pumpkin or the seasoning combo traditionally used in the pie. We burned through more than a dozen seasonals to construct the ultimate autumn six-pack, with each victor accompanied by a thematic getup. Prost!
Brooklyn Brewery says hundreds of pounds of Libby's brand pumpkin guts go into each batch of mash. It's a spicy brew that doesn't sacrifice the taste of beer for insulin shock. Play Dress-up: Nobody expected the three-headed Ira Glass, Thurston Moore and Morrissey hydra to wreak havoc on Williamsburg. The monster's bone-chilling screech sounds like a combo of feedback, morose yodeling and an exclusive interview with David Sedaris.
It takes more than a Bavarian flag bottle label to achieve authenticity, but Flying Fish's fall entry delivers beyond its festive packaging. The 'Fish pours as a rich amber brew, bursting with European malt flavor. Play Dress-up: Imagine Flying Fish's bony mascot as a zombie fish who also happens to be wearing lederhosen.
At a steep 7 percent alcohol, a few Punkin Ales will drop you right in the middle of the circle pit of the mind. The sweetness of cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar complements a natural pumpkin flavor; since it's so strong, Punkin Ale provides a glorious sense of warmth and well-being in one 12-ounce package. Play Dress-up: Oi! If any brew is gonna make you beg for freebies till yer bevvied up, it better be the one with "punk" scrawled on its neck. Shove safety pins in your face and turn up the Cock Sparrer.
If your desire for pie trumps beer, Jaw-Jacker delivers the rich, zingy flavors of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Every Arcadia beer is brewed in a traditional British style (small batches, imported hops), the kinds of ale mounted marauders would drink before tearing shit up at night. Play Dress-up: Counterbalance the beer's foamy head by dolling up as the Headless Horseman.
The sweetness of this Summit (pictured) is startling at first, but its warm body and classic maltiness makes it accessible. There's also a smooth finish for the alcohol content (7.4 percent). Play Dress-up: Summit hails from Minnesota, just like Paul Bunyan, who, according to legend, created theMississippi River by spilling a stein of beer.
Beerventurous fans should pick this brew, which relies on a strong pumpkin flavor, from the patch. With a mind-bending 8 percent ABV and a complex body that exudes cardamom and cloves in the finish, Weyerbacher's "IPA" is best enjoyed as a standalone. Play Dress-up: Drink enough of this stuff, and you will surely transform into the Great Pumpkin (from Hell) pictured on the label. As an evil gourd, you'll terrorize Charlie Brown types across the globe, blasting Manowar as you ravage the countryside.
Pick up most of these beers at the Foodery (324 S. 10th St.; 837 N. Second St., 215-928-1111) and Best House (4301 Baltimore Ave., 215-386-1450) throughout the month.