The seasonality of beer sometimes gets a little lost in the fast-paced world of modern brewing.

When breweries are hitting “refresh” every week, it’s sometimes hard to take the time to stop and enjoy a beer made for a particular season.

Luckily, autumn in New Zealand is as varied as the stock at your local supermarket so you can always find something to suit your tastes, but here are 10 options for you to consider for your beer fridge over the next few weeks.

Emerson’s Taieri George (500ml bottles, $8.99 each) 
For a long time, Emerson’s annual March 6 release was seen as an Easter beer because the spiced ale had all the flavours of a hot-cross bun. But the beer actually comes out each year to mark the birthday of George Emerson, the father of Emerson’s founder, Richard. George, who was a de facto CEO of the brewery in the first 10 years, died 20 years ago and Richard released this beer in his honour as it was something they’d been working on together. This “vintage” is a special 9% brew full of cinnamon and nutmeg. And the name? Well, George was a driving force behind the creation of the Taieri Gorge railway.

Hop Federation Red IPA (440ml cans, $110 a dozen)
The colour of Red IPA matches the turning leaves and the extra caramel malt sweetness coupled with the delicious hoppiness feels just right for cooler-weather sipping. Red IPAs went briefly out of fashion and many are now reserved as seasonal releases, but Hop Federation have kept their signature Red IPA (6.4%) in their core line-up. Super smooth, incredibly well integrated and perfect for sipping by a glowing fire, preferably around a firepit. 

North End Pit Boss (440ml cans, $8 each) 
Autumn always seems to smell smoky, right? Perhaps it’s the first fires being lit as the chill starts to bite, or maybe some leaves burning in an old 44-gallon drum. The perfect time for a smoked beer then. North End’s Pit Boss (7%) is a smoked doppelbock (a dark, lush lager), where the savoury mānuka-smoked malt, with its intense bacon aroma, offsets the sweetness of the dark malts to create a balanced drinking experience. 

Kererū Feijoa Weisse (330ml cans, $4.50 each)
There’s only one fruit we associate with autumn around here: feijoa. The undoubted star of the feijoa-meets-beer sector is the annual release of 8 Wired’s Feijoa Wild Ale, but another multi-award winner is Kererū’s Feijoa Weisse, a 3.8% ABV wheat beer laden with the unique feijoa funk. Slightly tart and super-refreshing.

Burkes Unforgiven Porter (440ml cans, $10.99 each)
Nothing straddles the warm-cold divide quite like a porter. And this porter (5.9%) is exceptional. Named Champion Beer at last year’s Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards, it delivers chocolate and creamy coffee on a dreamily light body with just a hint of spice and plums. Rich sweetness is perfectly offset by a coffee-bean bitterness and earthy hop-driven finish.

Sprig & Fern Harvest Pilsner (500ml bottles, $11.99 each)
Autumn in New Zealand beer circles is all about the hop harvest and you’ll soon be seeing fresh hop beers popping up all over the place as brewers increasingly embrace the joy of using fresh-off-the-vine hops. Sprig & Fern brewer Tracy Banner was one of the first to create a fresh hop beer when she made Mac’s Brewjolais, and her Harvest Pilsner (5%) is a steadfast and reliable fresh hop offering that delivers everything you expect from these beers.

Derelict Lemon Meringue (500ml bottles, $9.99 each)
It’s lemon season and what better way to celebrate that seasonality than with one of the cleverest beers in the country. Rangiora-based Derelict, New Zealand’s top-rated brewery on the Untappd rating site, make some intensely great beers. Their Lemon Meringue (5.3%) is pure genius. It has all the flavours of a lemon meringue pie. It’s zesty, creamy, only slightly sour and absolutely delicious.

Epic Hop Zombie (330ml cans, $119 for 24)
Double IPA just feels like an autumn beer. At this time of the year, you don’t need or necessarily want the lighter, brightly hopped IPAs that seem to dominate the market. Rather, you want something with a bit of depth that will warm your soul and provide comfort as dusk comes earlier. Epic Hop Zombie (8.5%) is a classic double IPA of monstrous but well-balanced proportions. 

Zeelandt Black Monk (440ml cans, $84 a dozen)
A dark lager retains the light body that defines a good lager but has the additional pleasure of a subtle chocolate and filter coffee layered underneath. Zeelandt, from Esk Valley in Hawke’s Bay, make some of the best classic German-style beers in the country and their Black Monk Schwarzbier (4.9%) is just right for autumn.

Townshend Sutton Hoo (500ml bottles, $85 a dozen)
If any beer truly defines autumn, it’s an amber ale. The colour, the nutty, biscuity, caramel malt, the well-integrated earthy hops. Townshend Sutton Hoo (4.7%) is the benchmark for Amber Ale in New Zealand and is a must-have for the months ahead.

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