If your grandma doesn’t have a pie recipe that she guards like a national secret, try the next best thing: a half-dozen pie-inspired beers and ciders from fruity and light to creamy and dark. Savor a few sips alongside your holiday sweets, or pour a full glass and make it a dessert in itself.
Julian Hard Cider Apple Pie: Aromas of baking apple cobbler, vanilla and brown sugar swirl off the golden pour. Caramelized sugar and sweet-tart apple flavors greet the tongue first, joined by a wave of brown sugar and cinnamon before the swallow—go a la mode with a scoop of vanilla gelato on the side.
Deep River Pumpkin Pie Porter: Roasted malts lend this spiced porter (brewed with real pumpkin) a toasty aroma and flavor that mimic the slightly burnt bottom of a pie crust. Pumpkin latte creaminess begins the sip before toasted almonds and coffee beans synch up and linger through the roasty finish.
High Water Sugaree Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie: Vermont maple syrup and bourbon barrel oak notes float above this pecan-flavored strong ale’s rich nougat and toffee scents. The sip smooths toasty malts and charred marshmallow across the palate before a splash of vanilla-laced whiskey and peanut shell dry out the finish.
Ocean City Mad Scientist: Chewy caramel and rounded, sweet roasted nuts steer this pecan pie-chocolate stout’s aroma; a thread of chocolate milk takes a backseat. The sip switches to dark baker’s chocolate, roasted pecan shell and graham cracker crust, grounding it solidly in the stout zone.
Pigeon Hill OCP Oatmeal Creme Pie: After a pint of this spiced brown ale, you’ll definitely proclaim yourself “down with OCP.” Like an oatmeal raisin cookie, it blends warm oat flavors with cinnamon spice, but the base beer’s just-shy-of-roasted malts keep it from becoming overly sweet.
Piney River Sweet Potato Ale: This spiced beer brewed with sweet potatoes tastes like a cousin to popular pumpkin brews: Cinnamon and nutmeg layer over quiet caramel richness, but the deep earthiness is a welcome wrinkle. Distinctly rustic yam skin counters sweeter elements and dovetails perfectly with baking spices.