One of the best things about the waning days of fall is the way the single-track trails in the foothills or open spaces in Colorado seemingly overnight take on new life, inviting day-long running adventures.
Oh, and the beer.
Fall is usually the start of the offseason for distance runners across the country. That means it’s also the perfect time to spice up your running by getting off your standard road route and getting on the dirt. Even if it’s hopping on the dirt track along a paved bike path where you run. Live a little. Barrel uncontrollably downhill on a leaf-covered route. Lose yourself in the fall colors.
Then you can spice up your drink repertoire with these adult recovery beverages, guaranteed to get you in the fall spirit.
Pumpkick by New Belgium Brewing
Already known for its focus on outdoor-oriented activities – especially cycling – that go well with beer, New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo. stepped up its game with this seasonal. Debuting this year, Pumpkick blends hints of lemongrass and cranberry with spices including cinnamon and nutmeg to create a deeper edge and slight tartness to the traditional taste of pumpkin beer. It’ll get you in the autumn spirit, but this pumpkin juice-infused ale won’t leave you feeling heavy – or guilty – after your run. ABV: 6 percent
Oktoberfest by Leinenkugel’s Brewing
Marzen fans have united for the past 3 years for this seasonal treat. Brewed in Chippewa Falls, Wisc., this fall specialty will entice you — plus, you won’t have to go far to get it because it’s available at most major liquor stores across the U.S. From smell to taste, hints of caramel complement the malt. But don’t worry, this rendition of classic pale lager Oktoberfest beer won’t be too overwhelming as you ease into recovery from your day on the dirt. ABV: 5.1 percent
Seasonal Pumpkin Ale by Mendocino Brewing
Ginger and nutmeg are evident from the minute you open a bottle of this California brew. Best suited for the weeks approaching the holidays, this ale is one of only a few that adds cocoa nibs during the brewing process, resulting in a bolder and more vibrant flavor. Let it warm slightly to room temperature and you’ll really taste the difference. The subtle hoppiness, yet surprisingly light and refreshing aftertaste, makes for a great beer that embodies everything fall and trail running is all about: adventure, quality and variety. ABV: 5 percent
Ace Pumpkin Cider by Ace Hard Ciders
Not a beer drinker, but still want a little alcohol indulgence to warm you up after cooling off in the autumn chill? This ace is for you. Fermented apple juice with dashes of cloves, cinnamon and allspice create perhaps the smoothest, most dessert-like fall beverage on the market. Be careful, though. You could easily overindulge and nix the calories burned on that epic run you just wrapped up. ABV: 5 percent
Powder Hound Winter Ale by Big Sky Brewing
It’s inevitable. Sometime in the fall you’re going to get caught in a rain (or snow) storm. Teeth chattering, you’ll look to warm up with a shower, but when your next step is to search for a drink to reenergize with, turn to this gem from Missoula, Mont., where people know what it means to cozy up for winter. Packing a heftier alcohol content than many other fall or winter seasonal brews, you’ll instantly start feeling the heat. More importantly, this amber ale brings enough hops to drink like a refreshing summer brew, yet it has a warm feel that is tasty this season and next. With a smooth finish and faint hint of caramel, the Powder Hound will become the perfect beer as you transition from fall to winter miles. ABV 7.2 percent